Thursday, May 30, 2024

We have not failed on ARVs – Government



Government has come out strongly in defence following reports of shortages of life saving antiretroviral drugs in Zambia.

Health Deputy Minister Christopher Mulenga said Zambia is not experiencing any shortages of the essential drugs used in the treatment and management of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Mr. Mulenga said such reports are inaccurate because the Ministry still has stocks of ARVs at every ART centre countrywide.

He was speaking in Solwezi during his conducted tour of selected health institutions and government projects under the Ministry of Health in North Western Province.

“What we are doing is rationing. This does not mean we have run out of drugs and people are dying, no. What we are doing now is rationing as we wait for another batch of ARVs which is arriving in the next two week,” Mr Mulenga said.

“Infact, we are being proactive and forward looking by rationing because one may never know what happens tomorrow with these global supply chains,” he said.

Mr. Mulenga said patients on ART are given a week supply and asked to return for another supply after that.
“Normally, people receive four weeks of supply each time they visit the facility, this is the better option because it also allows for administrative convenience but in this situation where there is uncertainty with regard to the global situation, rationing is the better possible alternative.”

Mr. Mulenga said the PF government is committed to the country’s HIV response and has increased spending on the ARV programme since taking over in 2011.

“Those attacking us on account that we have failed to run the ARV programme are been unfair because this government has almost doubled expenditure on ARVs, we are committed to prolonging lives of our citizens living with HIV.”

However in recent weeks a critical shortage of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) hit most health facilities around the country.As a result of the shortage of the life-saving drugs, most patients were being switched to other types while waiting for the recommended ones to be in stock.

At most ART centres, patients on Truvada and Neviripine were being switched to Atriper with most of them wondering what this switch would mean.They wondered what would happen when the Truvada was back in stock whether they would again revert back to it and feared that changing of ARVs could have adverse effects on their immune systems.

Most accessed facilities in Lusaka, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Kalingalinga, Kamwala, Matero, Ngwerere and Chawama clinics found that most of them had either run low on supply or had completely run out.A check also found that several Health Centers in Kitwe were running low on supply.


  1. “We have not failed… what we r doing is rationing…”. How do you ration drugs? Someone please educate me – doesn’t make sense to me.

    • If the Doctor’s prescription says: Take One tablet Twice a day, the PF recommends that you take One tablet Once a day. That way your medicine will last twice longer. This will lead the country to cut down on unnecessary expenditure. For your information the IMF, World bank , and the Ambassadors from America, Britain and Japan are in support of this policy. We don’t want to be like the MMD that wasted taxpayers money on subsidies and poisoning people with a lot of ARV’s. We are a lean and responsible government. Seleni tubombeko. Viva Sata! Viva PF!

    • NO!! The correct question is: “How do you ration something THAT YOU DON’T HAVE???”

      Ba PF na donchi kubeba, mwa la sanguka “DONKEY Kubeba!!”

    • @Ulabwata
      I am as amazed as you are that anyone thinks you can ‘ration’ a medication. Just what sort of people are these?

      And some 1diots on here entertain this. Fcuking get some common sense, followed by an education.

      Ration drugs my black ass!

    • Goncalves, no, they might recommend a different medicine that is extended release so it is broken down by the body slowly, but not simply taking half of the medicine you normally would. That doesn’t keep the virus in check, and can lead to resistance. ARVs are not poisoning people, they are saving lives! You wait until someone you love gets sick with AIDS, becomes like a skeleton and near death, and then is made well by ARVs, then you’ll know understand why patients need these medicines.

  2. Just think of the massive inconvenience and cost to all the patients who have to stop what they are doing, ask for time off work if they are lucky enough to have a job, pay increased bus fares out of their pocket, etc. etc. to go to the clinic every week instead of every month!

    And yet this is somehow not a failure, but what our “listening government” calls a success? Just make a plan already and buy enough pills to last – simple!

  3. Whtas wrong with this minister, does he think we are foolish? What is the purpose of rationing if there is no shortage? There is a serious budget over-run and government is surviving on internal borrowing. This has had adverse effects on government programmes and projects. One other area we need to be concerned about is the PF foreign policy. They have antagonised all the countries that support us with these life-saving drugs and chosen to go to bed with North Korea, Sudan, China and Cuba.

  4. Its not failing the Minister but lets us face the challenge on the ground where somebody walks 150 Km to come and get weekly refills,are we not expecting these patients to default?

    Is not against the mission statement of the Ministry to take essential health care which is accessible,affordable and cost effective as close as possible where families stay?

  5. Winter Kabimba has drunk all the ARVs. This government of chimbwi no plan is killing its people. All the money is being chanelled to the bloated cabinent and by elections. When the foolish president collapesses in state house,they fly him to India quickly. This is the same fool who was persecuting others who were sick. In SA they have indroduced a new type of ARv drug which is one drug. No people will be taking one capsule a day instead of the six. This is a caring government not the rubbish one we have.

  6. bufi bufi 2WEEKS HASNT YET COME FROM LAST MONTH you have been saying after 2 weeks HAA,SILLY and nonsense,so weekly who pays for transport fares for people to be going to the hospital every week for fil ups?do you have feelings for the suffering?why torment people who are already suffering?thats inhumane treatment in its worse term?zambians wake up this government has messed up things and the worse is yet to come.THIS DOCTOR IS has mismanaged money in government coffers the writing is on the wall.

  7. This PF Government does not have money to pay for ARV’s, and the supplier wants them to pay in advance.

    Stop the supply chain crap. ARV manufacturers want to sell, there in business. Pay them and they will ship the drugs to to. Simple.

    Let’s take this Monkey’s out of Government please, they have simply failed to govern us.

  8. Two weeks ago they said the drugs are coming in two weeks. They are still saying in two weeks. What’s going on with these people. No wonder kabimba said the whole bunch of them put together can’t match sata’s intellect. Look at Sata’s intellect then you can deduce his ministers intellect.

  9. Very interesting i am sure one by-election would pay for almost 6 or more months worth drags. lost priorities

  10. The Deputy Minister does not know what he is talking about as usual. These are critical issues that need critical and focused thinking, and not politics. Zambia is not the only country providing ART Services, these services are provided by almost all countries on this planet. The question is, why is it that when it comes to Basic Human Right Needs/Requirements like access to Quality Health Services, Proper Sanitation, Education, Shelter and many more, Politicians want to justify the unjustifiable? And yet when it comes to By Elections and any political event that suit them, money is released without delays! Mr Mulenga and Team need to sit down and plan properly as well as execute their plans diligently. You cannot stand on the platform and even confidently talk about rationing…….!

  11. And who is this ***** Christopher Mulenga? I won’t even ask his relationship to the presidency. Nephew? Cousin? Illegitimate son? Concubine’s brother? Concubine’s ex-lover? From Christine’s side?

    Please appoint people on merit, otherwise you get shite.

  12. ……the statement from the Hon. Minister is criminal. He also needs to consult technical persons before issuing such statements. It is not good to expose your ignorance on issues that border on life and death. Rationing!…… does he know how some of these patients/clients struggle to get(transport!) these Health Facilities and later on the unacceptable patient(long queues!) turnaround time? Peter Mwaba as PS must advise his Political supervisors constantly to avoid to avoid some of these blunders. It is actually better to keep quiet or simply say the matter is receiving attention, period.

  13. This minister for lack of a better term is very foolish.He was probably drunk when he made those remarks.How do you ration medicine?

  14. i have been to several clinics and hospitals they don’t have BCG for babies here in kitwe, i’m not surprised to ready this news of shortage of ARVS

  15. Dr.Mulenga,can you go and bench mark the ARV provision in Botswana then come and speak sense.You are an embarrasment to the medical fraternity.It is unethical of you to be defending wrong doings by this corrupt govt.

  16. The truth is the govt has failed us on ARVs. I am HIV+ and am being given one week supply each time I go to the clinic. So one day each week I have to get permission from work and spend the whole day in the queue at the clinic. Essential drugs cannot be rationed. Please don’t play with our lives

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