The Ministry of Health has clarified that there is no shortage of Anti-retroviral drugs in Zambia contrary to speculations in other sections of the media.
In a statement issued in Lusaka, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary – Technical Services Lackson Kasonka said, Government remains committed to ensuring people living with HIV in Zambia have adequate access to quality and efficacious anti-retroviral drugs, for a longer healthier life.
Prof Kasonka explained that in the quest to provide safer and more efficacious drugs, the optimization of antiretroviral therapy has since started.
He said to this effect, 98.5 per cent of the 1,229,781 receiving ARVs are now receiving the newer, safer, easier to take and more efficacious drugs, fixed into a single tablet to be taken daily.
Prof Kasonka adds said these newer combinations were introduced in Zambia in 2018 and have since led to over 96% of Zambian People Living with HIV receiving ARVs to have the virus suppressed resulting in a healthier and more productive population.
He said that there still remain about 6,000 individuals who are taking an old ARV drug called Zidovudine which the Ministry of Health has been transitioning from to TLD or TAFED.
Prof Kasonka has noted that this drug due to its poor side effect profile has thus faced increasing low demand world-wide disturbing its global supply chain and leading to its erratic supply in the last two years.