Patients on ARVs forced to make do with only seven days’ supply as clinics face shortages

Written by Thabo Molelekwa

#MedicineStockout: Patients fear defaulting on ARV treatment, as some clinics in Ekurhuleni experience shortages. Currently, patients can only access seven days’ supply.

France Motha is worried about running out of the HIV antiretroviral treatment, as the supply he got at the beginning of September at the Daveyton clinic dwindles.

Earlier this month Motha went to the clinic as usual to get his treatment. The clinic gave him some medication and nurses told to come back to get the rest of his prescription was experiencing shortages. The Daveyton was measuring out medication to accommodate all their HIV patients with the little that they have.

“On Monday the 14th I went back to the clinic to get treatment for myself and wife, but I was given a seven days’ supply for both of us,” Motha tells Health-e News.

Motha says he is very disappointed with the Healthcare system. The limited seven days’ supply means he has to go back to the clinic each week until 14 December.

“I use public transport to get to where I access the treatment, that means I must count R22 per week from now for the next three months,” he says.

Motha did not get a satisfactory response response from the clinic when he asked when the situation will improve. Officials told him that maybe under lockdown level one more supply companies will be fully operational.

Insufficient supply

The Gauteng Department of Health confirms that the Ekurhuleni District es experiencing shortages of certain treatment regimes.

“Our TEE and TLD quantities in the district are not sufficient to supply all patients with more than one month treatment. This is the reason why other facilities are providing medication for seven days,” says the department’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana.

The Ekurhuleni District should receive all its necessary supply by 17 September, with supply returning to normal, she says.

“TEE and TLD are available, they are just not available in sufficient quantities to enable multi months’ supply,” Kekana tells Health-e News.

Plan to avoid stock-outs

Gauteng Acting MEC for Heath Jacob Mamabolo said the department put measures in place to prevent medicine shortages. These are:

  • Weekly monitoring of the pharmacy store to source stock before it impacts service delivery;
  • Following up with suppliers to expedite delivery, especially when an item has exceeded the lead time;
  • Moving and borrowing tock between facilities where possible;
  • Ensuring adequate stock holding for the suppliers with longer lead times;
  • Imposing penalties on non-performing suppliers;
  • Paying suppliers within 30 days to ensure that accounts are not placed on hold;
  • Buy-out against suppliers who cannot supply the medication and have exceeded on the contractual lead time.

Mamabolo said the average waiting time at government hospital pharmacies is within the norm. The is room for improvement, he added. In the last financial year, the majority of the facilities were above 95% in terms of stock availability for medication, he added. – Health-eNews

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa is a guest author for Health-e News Service