Source: TB medicines shortage hits Zimbabwe – Sunday News August 26, 2018
Thandeka Matebesi, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has said the country is experiencing a shortage of fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines for the intensive phase treatment of tuberculosis due to delays in delivery from the international supplier.
In a statement the Ministry of Health and Child Care, said all TB medicines are imported and there were challenges with the regular supplier.
“The main reason for the low availability status of FDC-RHZE has been delays in the delivery of the commodity from our regular international supplier, the Global Drug Facility (GDF),” said the ministry.
Medicines for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) are available in several forms, single formulation and fixed dose combination tablets. FDC make it easier for patients to take as they take a single tablet instead of many tablets (up to four).
The name of the FDC tablet is Rifampicin/ Isoniazid/ Pyrazinamide/ Ethambutol (FDC-RHZE). The Ministry also said that measures have been put in place to ensure continued access to TB treatment for patients.
“Measures have been initiated by the GDF to fulfil our delayed order and a shipment is expected to arrive in the country on 26 August 2018 (today) in partial fulfilment of that order. The Directorate of Pharmacy Services (DPS) has coordinated actively the re-distribution of the FDC-RHZE from overstocked facilities and from facilities without any patients on treatment to facilities which are understocked and have patients on treatment.”
The Ministry added: “As an additional measure, guidance has been provided to all health facilities to combine single dose formulation medicines to constitute the 4 Drug RHZE combination for the intensive phase of treatment which unfortunately means the patients will have an increased pill burden.”
The Ministry said local partners had come to its rescue and it was expecting significant deliveries of the drugs into the country before the end of August.
“The Ministry has received some bridging relief supplies from one of our local partners MSF and this stock was quickly dispatched to health facilities on 16 August 2018.
“We expect significant deliveries of the commodity into the country before the end of August 2018. The Ministry has allocated an additional US$500 000 from the Health Levy towards building an additional buffer supply of anti-TB medicines.”