SCORES of people living with HIV in Matabeleland South province are reported to be at high risk of developing drug resistance to the life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)after it emerged that the supply of the drugs in the region has become erratic, an HIV advocacy group official has revealed.
Report by Kupakwashe Makonye
A recent visit to the region during a monitoring exercise of the Opportunistic Infections Clinics (OICs) and other health centres by representatives from a non-governmental organisation, People Living with HIV (PLHIV), revealed the sad situation prevailing in Matabeleland South.
Chairperson of Harare Metro Advocacy Team, a network of people living with HIV and Aids, Joao Zangaroti, told NewsDay yesterday that the situation was dire in Matabeleland South, where most patients received interrupted treatment with some adult patients getting treatment meant for children.
“The shortage of drugs in Matabeleland South is still acute and is causing dangerous side effects to patients,” said Zangaroti.
“A report is being compiled and is most likely to be out soon and it will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.”
Zangaroti has since written to Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera, demanding improved supply of ARVs and pleading for an end to interrupted treatment.
The organisation also demanded for accountability in the management of the National Aids Trust funds, including the Aids levy.
Recently, people living with HIV took to the streets in Harare, demanding accountability of the funds generated from the Aids levy which they claimed were being abused and not benefiting them.
Zangaroti also said many patients were affected by the issue of distance as theycould not afford to travel distances of up to 30km on foot to get treatment at the nearest medical centre.