Medicine and vaccine shortages across country

Mary-Jane Matsolo

20 June 2012

There have been many media reports of shortages of medicines to treat AIDS over the last few weeks. But the medicine shortages go beyond antiretrovirals and there are even shortages of vaccines.

We have received several reports of stockouts. Here are some:

The Southern African HIV Clinicians Society (The Society) sent the Minister of Health a letter on 29 March asking for an investigation into the shortage of AIDS medicines. Laurie Schowalter from The Society said the National Department of Health is aware of the shortages and is being responsive. “They’re doing the best they can to put out the fires, but have limited resources and are faced with problems, such as lack of capacity and a shortage of health care workers, accompanied by poor projections and proper monitoring”. We asked the Department of Health for a response, but have not yet received one.

At this point, we have been unable to identify clear causes of the stockouts. Our investigation is continuing.