Zimbabwe: HIV Patients Fail to Access ARVs

People living with HIV and AIDS are having difficulties in accessing second line drugs from public institutions and are being forced to buy them from pharmacies at US$25 for one-month's supply.

Mr Stanley Takaona of the Zimbabwe HIV and AIDS Activist Union Community Trust (ZHAUCT) said some members of his organisation were turned away from Wilkins Hospital and given prescriptions to source the drugs from pharmacies.

"Patients on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) have been turned away from Wilkins in Harare where they normally access their supplies. I have followed up with the authorities at the hospital and I am reliably informed that a consignment of the second line drugs is yet to be received at NatPharm. It's a sad scenario and people's health is at stake," he said.

Mr Takaona said second and third line drug regimens were expensive and turning away patients on ART was akin to passing a death sentence on them.

"Patients cannot afford the high cost of drugs in these Covid-19 times where supplies from pharmacies cost US$25. If ever there is a stockout at any health centre, we recommend that they get support from other institutions. Harare City Council is not taking our lives seriously. They could have referred patients to Harare Hospital or other hospitals where minimal supplies can be given to patients."

Mr Takaona said under normal circumstances, ART patients on the second line drug regime received drug supplies of up to three months.

The National AIDS Council (NAC) is on record as saying the country has bought enough (ART) drug stocks to cover supplies for the next six months.

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