08 Apr 2016 18:20pm
CORRECTION: Second para both consignments of ARVs are expected to last at least six months and not only the first.
WINDHOEK, 08 APR (NAMPA) A consignment of 63 tonnes of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs arrived at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on Friday and another consignment of the drug is expected to arrive in the next few days.
Ministry of Health and Social Services Acting Permanent Secretary Axel Tibinyane said during a media briefing at the airport, situated 45 kilometres east of the capital, both consignments of ARVs are expected to last at least six months.
What we are going to do now is to replenish the medical supply chain from the central stores to the facilities out there, he said.
The second consignment is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa for customs clearance.
The ARVs were purchased by the Namibian government from Cipla Quality Chemicals of Uganda for about N.dollars 63 million, while the second consignment was purchased by the Global Fund, said Tibinyane.
He could, however, not confirm the cost of the second batch, only saying it is smaller and of a different line than the ones that arrived on Friday.
Tibinyane said the medicine is registered with the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council.
He also said challenges in the supply chain, which the ministry is trying to sort out, is within the whole supply chain from production up to the ministry distributing and providing the medicine to the patient.
Surely our interest is to make sure that we take care of our patients and that we provide a good service, and that is what we strive to do. So, when there are challenges we try to improve them all the time.
He said this in reference to a media statement issued earlier this month by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Permanent Secretary Andreas Mwoombola, who said the ministry was experiencing problems with local suppliers unable to provide certain medicines, which they have tendered to supply due to the economic exchange rate.
ARVs treat and prevent HIV infections. It does not cure HIV/AIDS but slows down the growth of the virus and disease, which help to improve the lives of people living with the virus.
According to the Namibia Aids Response Report for the period 2013-2014 issued in March 2015, there are over 130 000 Namibians on ARV therapy (ART), representing over 90 per cent coverage of people needing ART.
The report also said that based on projected HIV estimates of 2015, about 260 000 people now live with HIV while it is estimated that 11 000 new HIV infections occurred in 2014. A total estimated 5 100 people died from AIDS related cases in 2014.