Via The Herald Online: Nearly 89 000 children fail to access ARVs. Excerpt:
More than half of the children living with HIV and Aids are failing to access anti-retroviral drugs despite the pediatric formulations being available, senior health officials have said.
About 150 000 children between the ages of 0 and 14 years are HIV-positive and of these, nearly 89 000 who are in need of the drugs are failing to access them.
National Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission and Pediatric HIV Care and Treatment Co-ordinator in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Angela Mushavi said only 45 percent of HIV-positive children in need of the drugs were on ARVs.
Dr Mushavi was speaking on the sidelines of a capacity building workshop for journalists reporting on pediatric infections organised by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.
“Uptake is still very low. We are not putting enough numbers of children on ARVs,” Dr Mushavi said.
She attributed the low uptake to inadequate officials initiating anti-retroviral therapy and the centralisation of laboratories, among other reasons.
In Zimbabwe, a special test, which detects the presence of the virus in children is only done in Harare at the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory and initiation of ARVs is only done by doctors.
Dr Mushavi said Government was in the process of decentralising and was looking forward to opening laboratories in Bulawayo and Mutare.
“When we started in 2007, there were few samples and it was okay to operate with just one laboratory, but now more and more samples are coming in.
“More than 1 000 sites countrywide are sending samples to the laboratory hence the long waiting periods before results are sent back to their site.”
It takes about a month for the laboratory to send back results to their original site.