Group Calls on Zimbabwe Health Ministry To Increase Access to PEP Among Assault Survivors, Health Workers
The Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre Network last week called on the country's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to increase access to post-exposure prophylaxis in an effort to curb the spread of HIV nationwide, the Herald/AllAfrica.com reports. The group called on the health ministry to adopt a multisectoral approach to make PEP more widely available to groups such as sexual assault survivors. ZWRCN program officer Sylvia Shekede said that lack of coordination in the distribution of antiretroviral drugs is hindering access to PEP. "We are calling upon the relevant ministry to formulate policies that cater for every one regardless of age," Shekede said, adding, "Some organizations which support rape victims cater for children under the age of 16 years only."
According to Shekede, health workers also have limited access to PEP. A study conducted by ZWRCN between 2005 and January 2008 found that 27 health care workers nationwide had accessed PEP. "Some people are getting infection after failing to access PEP, and yet the drug is lying idle in different health institutions," Shekede said, adding that PEP should be made available in various venues, such as supermarkets, especially for assault survivors (Herald/AllAfrica.com, 2/27).