Arrival of TB Drugs to Uganda Ends Six-Month Drug Shortage
Uganda 's minister of state for primary health care on Friday announced the arrival of Tuberculosis drugs from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria marking the end to a six-month drug shortage in the region, reports Xinhua (4/17).
After mismanagement of Global Fund money by the ministry in August 2005, Xinhua reports that the Global Fund suspended grants to Uganda to help fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria "which led to a supply shortage in many parts of the country" (4/17).
James Kakooza, minister of the state for primary health care, said the government recently resumed their partnership with the Global Fund, adding, "They committed themselves to assist us" (Xinhua, 4/17).
The announcement by the health minister comes only days after The Daily Monitor reported that doctors at a hospital in the northern Uganda district of Gulu were treating TB patients with drugs that expired more than three years ago to deal with TB drug shortage (Lawino/Amoru,The Daily Monitor, 4/14).
Xinhua reports that though the health minister acknowledged the recent shipment of TB drugs valued at 33 million Uganda shillings ($15,700) and a second shipment expected early next week as "ending the drugs crisis," he denied the reports doctors were prescribing expired drugs (Xinhua, 4/17).
IRIN on Thursday reported that the interruption of HIV and TB treatment caused by the drug shortage in Gulu, located in Northern Uganda, was increasing the risks that patients would resistant strains of the diseases that would "require costly second-line drugs" (IRIN, 4/16).
According to IRIN, Paul Onek, director of health services in Gulu district, reported that all supplies of malaria, TB and antiretroviral (ARV) drugs had "run out." Gulu's largest hospital has over 2,000 patients on TB treatment and 1,300 HIV-positive patients on ARVs (IRIN, 4/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.