ARV crisis at city hospitals

2009-06-17 00:00

STAFF at local hospitals and clinics are struggling to cope with the increasing number of patients requiring admission into the anti-retroviral (ARV) programme.

Edendale Hospital has been forced to reduce its daily intake of ARV patients due to escalating numbers, lack of space and a shortage of staff.

The hospital’s ARV programme currently caters for 10 985 patients, and increasing demand for access to the programme has forced the institution to refer patients to clinics to help ease the load.

A well-placed source at a local clinic said they were battling to cope with the increasing number of down referrals from Edendale Hospital.

Those requiring ARV treatment are doubling monthly, yet staffing numbers remain stagnant, said the source. The informant said the only way they can deal with the upsurge is to prioritise the provision of ARVs.

“Although those with a CD4 count below 200 qualify for medication, those with the lowest number get preference. The rest are put on a waiting list,” said the source.

Grey’s Hospital agreed to assist Edendale Hospital and its clinics, but there have been reports that some patients have been turned away.

Health-e News reported that an HIV-positive woman, who is seven months pregnant, was recently denied ARVs at Grey’s. She was told to go to Edendale for medication, even though her CD4 count is dangerously low at 48.

Health-e also gave an account of a patient who was forced to seek treatment at a Durban hospital because he did not want to die on the waiting list like one

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