Govt to in­tro­duce new line of ARVs

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Se­nior Re­porter

GOV­ERN­MENT will in­tro­duce a new line of cheaper and more ef­fec­tive an­tiretro­vi­ral drugs for HIV and Aids pa­tients early next year.

Au­thor­i­ties will in­tro­duce the Do­lute­gravir (DTG) line, which has sig­nif­i­cantly fewer side ef­fects and is less prone to devel­op­ment of drug re­sis­tance. Around 1,2 mil­lion Zim­bab­weans use ARVs.

DTG has been the drug of choice for the last two years for peo­ple liv­ing with HIV in high-in­come coun­tries, and is ad­min­is­tered as a sin­gle, small tablet taken once daily. Health and Child Care Minister Dr Oba­diah Moyo told our Harare Bu­reau that, “My min­istry will be in 2019 in­tro­duc­ing DTG-based treat­ment reg­i­mens to the al­ready ex­ist­ing bas­ket of first and sec­ond-line treat­ment op­tions avail­able cur­rently.

“DTG is recog­nised as an ef­fec­tive low-cost generic for­mu­la­tion by the WHO; and is as­so­ci­ated with fewer ad­verse ef­fects and is less likely to re­sult in drug re­sis­tance.

“Through the na­tional medicines and ther­a­peu­tic pol­icy ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee and my min­istry’s Aids and TB direc­torate, work on how we will be tran­si­tion­ing to these newer and ef­fec­tive medicines are now at an ad­vanced stage with plans to start of­fer­ing DTG as from May 2019.

“Our health staff will be ca­pac­i­tated fully to of­fer this ser­vice and net­works and ad­vo­cacy group of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV are be­ing en­gaged to pro­vide in­put into this process. The in­tro­duc­tion of DTG-based treat­ment reg­i­mens is meant not to sub­sti­tute, but com­ple­ment, the cur­rently ex­ist­ing treat­ment op­tions.”

The United States ap­proved med­i­cal use of DTG in 2013, while it is listed on the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion List of Es­sen­tial Medicines as one of the most ef­fec­tive medicines needed in a pub­lic health sys­tem. Of the nearly 1,2 mil­lion Zim­bab­weans on an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy — up from just 5 000 in 2004 — 84 per­cent have their vi­ral load sup­pressed. HIV in­ci­dence dropped to 0,48 per­cent in 2016 from 0,88 per­cent in 2011 ow­ing to in­ter­ven­tions that in­clude con­dom pro­mo­tion and distri­bu­tion, vol­un­tary med­i­cal male cir­cum­ci­sion, HIV test­ing, pre­ven­tion of mother-to-child trans­mis­sion and so­cial cam­paigns for be­hav­iour change.

HIV preva­lence re­mains around 14,7 per­cent. This year, au­thor­i­ties have dis­trib­uted 98 mil­lion con­doms against an an­nual tar­get of 106 mil­lion.

Dr Oba­diah Moyo

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.