Supply Shortages, Poverty Interrupt Antiretroviral Treatments in Swaziland
September 22, 2008
Health facilities in Swaziland are experiencing shortages in antiretroviral drugs and other medications despite insistence from the country's health department that the shortage has been resolved, IRIN/PlusNews reports.
The high level of poverty in Swaziland hinders patients from buying the medications on their own, Dlamini said, adding that he is concerned that a resistant strain of the virus will develop from the interrupted treatment regimens in the country. "It'll be difficult to treat these drug-resistant strains because second-line drugs are more expensive and not available everywhere," he said.
According to IRIN/PlusNews, Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, with 26% of its adults living with the virus, and a high default rate for antiretroviral therapy. Von Wissel said about 31% of patients in the country taking antiretrovirals stop receiving treatment within their first year on the medication. The government has been decentralizing antiretroviral treatments, with about 30% of the country's local clinics offering the drugs. Velephi Okello, antiretroviral therapy coordinator for Swaziland's National AIDS Program, said the issue of task-shifting to allow nurses to prescribe medications needs to be addressed to deal with the shortage of physicians in clinics around the country (IRIN/PlusNews, 9/18).
Swaziland Holds Celebrations for King's Birthday, Independence; Advocates Call for Increased Social Spending, Other Reforms
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.