Antiretroviral Drug Shortage in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is facing a shortage of antiretroviral drugs because of an economic crisis, which has caused shortages of food, fuel, water, power, and foreign currency, as well as an inflation rate of about 1,000%, Reuters reports. Charles Mwaramba, the acting director of Zimbabwe's National Pharmaceutical Company, said his firm does not have enough funds to buy antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people, adding, "There are 20,000 people on the [antiretroviral drug] national program, and we have less than a month's supply of the vital drugs, and that is not encouraging." The drug repository between January and March was given about $106,000 -- instead of the approximately $7.4 million it required -- for antiretroviral drugs by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. According to Mwaramba, the European Union is providing funding for other drugs, and Zimbabwe has applied for funding from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to extend the antiretroviral drug program to 25,000 more people. However, even if the funding is granted, it would not be available until January 2007, he said (Chinaka, Reuters, 5/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.