Health facilities in Mpumalanga province are facing a shortage of the antiretroviral drug, Tenofovir (TDF).
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) office in Ermelo has established that Fernie, Volkrust, Amsterdam, Iswepe, Carolina and Mayflower health facilities do not have TDF and have been experiencing this shortage since early January 2012.
In Iswepe, patients that are due to be initiated on to antiretroviral drugs with TDF as part of the regimen are placed on a waiting list until the problem is resolved. The current stocks are only used for those that are already on TDF based regimens to avoid defaulting.
In Carolina, patients are initiated onto Stavudine (D4T) based regimens and those that were changed from D4T to TDF have been temporarily returned to D4T until TDF is in stock.
Responding to TAC’s concerns over the shortages, Department of Health Provincial ARV manager, Mr. Duma Nkosi said the province started late with the initiation of patients on to TDF based regimens. By the time they placed their order to the suppliers, the suppliers did not have the required quantity of TDF because it was already late in the year and they were about to close for the December holidays and were only due to open late January.
The provincial health department has communicated with facilities to borrow TDF from other facilities nearby.
Mr Nkosi said authorities have also communicated with the suppliers of TDF regarding the shortage to provide a letter permitting the department to order from other companies outside of the tender.
Mr. Nkosi has assured TAC that this matter should be resolved by Friday 3 February 2012. TAC continues to monitor the situation with plans of taking appropriate action if the shortage persists beyond the given date.
This shortage comes hot on the heels of the drug shortages that were prevalent in the province in late 2010 until early 2011.