The Bulawayo City Council (BBC)’s 11 clinics have adequate stocks of life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), despite the growing number of people who receive the antiretroviral therapy (ART) from the clinics, city health authorities have said.
There are more than 17 000 people living with HIV who receive ARVs from the council clinics.
According to the latest council report, councillors were worried about the availability of ARVs considering the growing number of people who needed them.
“We would like to seek clarification on whether or not there are adequate stocks of ARVs at municipal clinics as we have noticed that the number of people who need ARVs has increased,” said Councillor Prince Dube.
The BCC director of health services Zanele Hwalima assured councillors that the clinics had enough stocks of ARVs.
“Council clinics have sufficient stocks of ARVs as the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare supplies the drugs on request,” she said. The council report said a total of 17 242 people were accessing ARVs from their clinics, with Nketa Clinic having the highest number of people – at 4 985 — accessing the drugs.
In the past, council clinics have battled with a huge backlog of people waiting to be on ARVs, due to staffing challenges.
The challenge of accessing ARVs was also worsened by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) announcement that people living positively, whose CD4 count was 350 and below should commence ART treatment.
This development put a strain on most developing countries in terms of the availability of ARVs.