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)
MoH follows up case of suspected movement disorder at Lunte boarding school in Northern Prov.
THE Ministry of Health is following up some suspected movement disorders which affected more than 20 pupils from Lunte boarding school in Northern Province.
On June 21, this year, the school reported numerous cases of pupils reporting similar signs and symptoms of difficulty in walking, weakness, and painful knees and ankles.
Speaking at a media briefing, Health Minister, Sylvia Masebo disclosed that of the 27 pupils affected, 15 have been sent back home by the school management for observation.
“The rest of those with mild symptoms remained in school. These pupils were placed in a designated isolation area within the school confines. Health workers have been assigned to monitor the pupils’ conditions daily.
To date, 18 recoveries were reported from among both those pupils sent home and those under school isolation. I wish to offer the affected pupils and their families my assurance that this suspected movement disorder may not be a public health emergency,” she said.
(Mwebantu, Monday, June, 27th, 2022)
Zambia not in short of highly specialized health expertise, says Zambia Medical Association
THE Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) has charged that the country is not short of highly specialized health expertise, innovation or good leadership to provide first-class health services.
Commenting on a statement attributed to President Hakainde Hichilema extending an invitation to investors from India to set-up first class hospitals in Zambia, ZMA sectretary general Kaumba Tolopu said the country rather needs infrastructure, equipment, healthcare financing, essential drugs, medical supplies and motivation.
He said Association is concerned that if not contextualized, the good spirited and what is believed to be a well-intended invitation has potential to be misconstrued.
“We are convinced that given the right support and incentives the newly modernized and super-specialized local facilities are capable of rising to the occasion to offer “first-class” medical services in both the public and private sector.
To underscore this point, we would like to remind the citizenry, policymakers and stakeholders at large that when the world closed their borders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the available human capital under very difficult circumstances kept the nation safe,” Dr Tolopu said.
He said the association remains hopeful that through the engagements, the country will attract the right foreign direct investment that places the Zambian at the heart of any potential future business ventures, health or otherwise, in order to retain revenue within the country and empower the population.
He said ZMA is looking forward to engaging the Head of State on matters of public health importance.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, June, 4th, 2022)
COVID cases at Hillcrest Boarding school contained
OVER 20 cases of COVID-19 at Hillcrest Boarding school in Livingstone were recorded last week.
However, the education authorities have said that the cases have been contained and a total recovery rate of patients attained.
District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Aiden Kambunga said more than 20 pupils tested positive for COVID-19 at Hillcrest Boarding school.
“We had roughly over 20 pupils that tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, the pupils have all recovered and with help of the Ministry of Health, we managed to contain the situation.
The school has been fumigated and we have since not recorded any new cases,” he said.
He added that the education body will ensure that all COVID-19 guidelines are followed and adhered to in schools, because education cannot be put on hold again.
(Mwebantu, Sunday, May, 29th, 2022)