More patients on fixed dosage

2013-09-09 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal has placed a total of 23 646 new patients on the new fixed dose combination (FDC) drug between July and August 11, increasing significantly the number of HIV/Aids patients utilising this simpler form of medication. The cocktail of tablets are now replaced with a single tablet daily.

This brings the total of patients on the programme to 74 244 since it was introduced in April, department head Sbongile Zungu said.

Speaking to the Health portfolio committee meeting last week, Zungu said that of the total, most were women (25 881), followed by pregnant women (21 967), men (16 135) and breastfeeding women (6 344). A total of 4 007 patients switched from the previous anti-retroviral therapy regimen treatment to FDC.

Zungu also said there were a total of 477 439 fixed dose combination (FDC) tablets on order.

“We are confident that the patients we put on treatment would have regular supplies and we will monitor and regulate the transfer of patients to FDC,” Zungu added.

She said the current stock at their depots was not adequate to switch all those on anti-retroviral treatment to the FDC at this stage. “This will be on hold until there is enough stock to sustain this next group once it is switched to FDC.”

Zungu dispelled reports that there were stock shortages in FDC drugs in parts of the province. “There is adequate stock of FDC in the province to sustain all new patients on anti-retroviral treatment as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women,” she said.

The IFP’s Les Govender gave the programme the nod, saying it was a good thing there was an adequate supply of FDC and that people were being switched onto it.

The DA’s Mark Steele, however, expressed concern at the monthly demand and that the number of the drugs ordered was only for three months.

Zungu confirmed there was three-month supply of the drugs.

“This is not about stock at depot, but also about the fact that the province is migrating from a depot supply system to direct supply system,” she said.

Zungu was confident that the province was winning the battle against the pandemic and every effort was made for those requiring ARV treatment to receive it. “We discover that we no longer have patients that are on waiting lists to be initiated on ARVs,” Zungu added.

Committee chairperson Maggie Govender said a visit by the portfolio committee to health facilities revealed that there was a decrease in patients at hospitals who needed ARVs. “What is happening is that patients go to clinics to test and receive treatment there.”

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