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Ministry of Health dismisses drug shortage claims



THE Ministry of Health says there is no shortage of Anti-retroviral drugs in Zambia.

Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Professor Lackson Kasonka however explains that due to the world shortage of old ARV drug called Zidovudine, some people who have not transitioned to the new drugs have been affected.

Professor Kasonka clarified that shortage of Zidovudine is as result of its poor side effect profile hence increasing its low demand thereby disturbing its global supply chain and leading to its erratic supply in the last two years.

He however said in the quest to provide safer and more efficacious drugs, the optimization of antiretroviral therapy has since started.

“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 dolutegravir containing ARV combinations called Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/ Lamivudine/ Dolutegravir commonly referred to as TLD or Tenofovir alafenamide / Emtricitabine/ Dolutegravir commonly referred to as TAFED. These drugs are fixed into a tablet and given as one tablet per day,” he said.

Professor Kasonka said the 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 however said there still remain about 6,000 individuals who are taking old ARV drug called Zidovudine which the Ministry of Health has been transitioning from to TLD or TAFED.

“To this effect, the Ministry of Health in consultation with the Civil Society Organizations representing People Living with HIV and implementing partners has made a decision to accelerate the transition of individuals on this drug to better, safer and easier-to-take ARVs,” he said.

Professor 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.

He said guidance has been provided to health workers to fast-track the transition from Zidovudine-containing ARV combinations to TLD or TAFED in view of new developments, based on scientific evidence generated from the African continent including Zambia.

He said a further reminder is given to dispense a six-month supply of anti-retroviral drugs as per standard guidance.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, 15th September, 2022)


Simaero to expand to Zambia



SIMAERO Holding, a French company that specializes in aerospace engineering, has announced plans to open a new office in Lusaka, Zambia.

Simaero is a major player in pilot training, flight simulator operations, and engineering services worldwide. The group gives its over 250 customers access to a network of 30 full-flight simulators in Paris, Dinard, Johannesburg, and Zhengzhou.

Simaero Global Manager, Mr. Karim Mekrez, made the announcement on sidelines of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly after meeting with the President’s Special Adviser for Projects, Implementation and Monitoring, Dr Lawrence Mwananyanda, and Permanent Representative, Dr Chola Milambo, at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations Offices in New York.

He said Simaero plans to invest in Zambia because it shares the vision of President Hichilema to make Zambia a regional aviation hub.

“The idea is to partner with Zambia Air Services Training Institute (ZASTI) to be the next training simulator in Lusaka,” he said. Simaero is an Approved Training Organization for pilots, certified by the EASA. It offers a complete set of training solutions covering a comprehensive range of aircraft types.

This is according to a press release issued by: Namatama Njekwa, First Secretary for Press and Public Relations, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United, New York.




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Fake Congolese ‘doctor’ accused of killing a Lusaka woman with botched fibroids removal surgery



AN illegal health practitioner of Congolese origin has been arrested in Lusaka for allegedly causing the death of a patient who had fibroids.

The suspect, Brian Musonda, 36, was arrested by a team of police officers who worked in conjunction with the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ).

HPCZ Public Relations Manager Terry Musonda said in a statement Mr Musonda of Makeni area, Lusaka was nabbed after a joint operation was alerted that that suspect was providing health services without a license.

Mr Musonda explained that HPCZ was alerted that last month, the suspect attempted to conduct an operation on a 37-year-old woman of George Township who had fibroids but the exercise resulted in death.

“Investigations into the matter revealed that the suspect had been masquerading as a health practitioner and operating an illegal health facility from his residence in Lusaka’s Makeni East area,” he said.

Mr Musonda explained that at the time of his arrest, one patient was admitted at the illegal health facility where numerous medical equipment and supplies were found.

The arrest of another fake doctor is appearing before the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court for allegedly administering a purported injective contraception on a women whose arm ended up rotting and being amputated.

The accused in this case is Shady Hang’andu,58, was recently found with a case to answer and placed on his defence.

(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 8th August, 2023)

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Masebo warns thieving health workers, those behind will be deregistered



MINISTER of Heath Sylvia Masebo has bemoaned the theft of medicines in health facilities which has resulted in shortages of medication and other medical supplies.

Ms Masebo said thefts have not only created a shortage, but also affected operations in health facilities as it has seen to patients suffering when in dire need of treatment.

The Minister revealed that arrests of some people behind the theft of medicines have been made, with a total of 70 arrests, 35 convictions of which 26 are health workers.

Ms Masebo said the health workers who have been convicted for theft of medication will be deregistered as they do not serve in the best interest of the people.

Speaking yesterday at the opening of a consultative meeting on thefts of medicines and medical supplies from public health facilities, Ms Masebo said the theft of medical supplies will not be condoned.

“Thefts of medicines and medical supplies in our public health facilities are a matter of utmost concern and urgency as they undermine the efforts of government to provide quality healthcare services to all. Thefts of medicines are not only illegal, but also unethical, as they directly affect the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society,” she said.

Ms Masebo said when medicines and medical supplies are stolen from the public health facilities, it means that patients who are in dire need of adequate care and treatment of their ailments are not appropriately treated.

She said not getting adequate treatment led either to complications, disability or death.

“Stealing of medicines and medical supplies from public health facilities also frustrates the efforts of dedicated healthcare workers who work tireless to ensure quality services are provided to our people. To address this issue, we must take decisive and immediate actions,” Ms Masebo said.

She said the Ministry has further taken a step to write to Health Professions Council of Zambia to have those convicted be deregistered so that they should never practice and stop to deprive the public of the much needed life-saving medicines.

The Minister further said a task force has been established to ensure that measures being strengthening collaboration with law, staff training and awareness, improved inventory management, community engagement and security of medications in which Ministry has directed procurement of CCTV’s to be installed against thefts.

(Mwebantu, Friday, 4th August, 2023)

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