The North West Department of Health has noted with concern various reports in the media regarding the alleged unavailability of drugs for patients on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, tuberculosis (TB) treatment and family planning following the recent publication of the second edition of the Retshidze report.
The Department considers media reports to be misleading as they do not give an accurate impression of the state of health in the North West Province, particularly the current status of drug availability in the province.
Therefore, the NWDoH refutes, with the contempt it deserves, the distorted information that has made its way into the public space following the Retshidze report, an assessment compiled on the basis of observations and interviews without soliciting of the facts of the department which is the depository. provincial public health services.
The Department has, as part of the Section 100(1)(b) response, made significant progress in addressing drug supply shortages in provincial public health.
The overall availability of medicines in the province reached 81% according to the national essential list in the 3rd quarter of 2021/2022. The availability of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and vaccines for the expanded immunization program has been maintained above 92%, while tuberculosis (TB) drugs are above 82%.
The province has developed and implemented a system to track the availability of drugs in the province. This system allows inventory to be transferred between facilities based on the individual needs of each facility.
Stock availability in the province is currently as follows:
The media reported that the drug Lamivudine had the highest number of stockouts (44%) in facilities. The Department refutes these reports and can confirm that the availability of the drug for lamivudine 150mg 56 tablets, has increased from 76% at the start of the year to 83% in July 2022. This improvement in availability follows a departmental intervention where a concern was raised with National Management. Department of Health regarding lamivudine shortages in January this year and was helped to acquire two month supply from Aspen and Adcock.
The department has decided to solicit stocks of Lamivudine for the Provincial Depot in Gauteng Province in the meantime, in accordance with inter-provincial stock transfers approved by the National Ministry of Health until the issue of stock levels of this particular drug is stabilized.
The NWDoH can confirm that Dolutegravir stock availability has consistently been above 90% since the start of 2022 despite media reports claiming severe unavailability of the drug and subsequently placing it as the second-highest number of stock-outs. of stock.
The Ministry of Health is in talks with Hetero, Mylan and Sonke to provide stock this month and will ensure that all provinces get an equal share.
The drug TLD was reportedly on a 7% out of stock rate according to the publications, however, the accurate availability trend is over 97% for the 28-pack. Healthcare facilities are also stocking the 90-day pack, but it is not on national or provincial forms because this item was donated by USAID and the Global Fund and no NSN number has been assigned.
Reports have further alleged severe shortages of the drugs Abacavir/lamivudine, Efavirenz, Abacavir, zidovudine resulting in a 5-7% stockout. As a Department, we can confidently say that the availability trend of Abacavir/Lamivudine 300/600, 28s has been consistently above 95% since the start of this year. Abacavir/Lamivudine 300/600, 28s availability has been above 95%, while Abacavir drug availability trends for 20mg/ml solution as well as 300mg tablets are consistently above 95% for 2022, 60mg dispersible tablets reaching medium to high. eighties. Zidovudine tends to average around 87% drug availability, with the 100mg 100 capsule pack achieving over 90% availability for all of 2022.
The overall availability of TB drugs at the end of July 2022 is 81.6%.
Rifampicin/Isoniazid received a reported stock-out percentage of 47% in the media, but provincial availability trends for 300mg/150mg 56 are above 94% for all of 2022 through now singles 150mg/75mg 56 are between 89% and 91%. also for 2022. The acquisition of Refinah 60/60 28s & 56s was a challenge for the province earlier this year due to vendors running out of stock, however the challenge was resolved in May and we are currently in between 70 and 80% in terms of stock availability.
Province has never experienced any supply issues with Rifafour which is currently between 80% and 90% in terms of stock availability.
The availability of family planning drugs and injectables in our facilities ranges from 88-95%, with Depo Provera (Medroxyprogesterone) seeing a drastic improvement in availability from 67% in January to 95% in July this year. Oral contraceptives including Ovral and Triphasil recorded 85-87% stock availability in the province. We also recorded 92% availability of subdermal implants in facilities that would have experienced stock-outs.
The Department will experience shortages of specific items from time to time when there is a national problem with that specific drug. However, information regarding a departmental general complaints process is available at various health facilities. Through this process, people facing drug shortages can make their problems worse if they think they are not getting cooperation from the health facilities they visit.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: North West Department of Health.
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