Updated 01 July 2016

Limpopo ARV shortage not due to unrest

Officials insist that the ARV challenge they're experiencing in Limpopo is not caused by protests in area; it is a national problem.


The Limpopo health department says the shortage of antiretroviral medicine in Vuwani clinics is related to a national supply problem rather than violence in the area.

A national problem

Since the start of demarcation protests in the Vuwani area of Vhembe, residents especially in the Mashau village, have reported that they have been unable to receive their ARVs. Clinic staff told them that they had not received stock due to the protests in the area, as all the roads were barricaded.

Read: No ARVs for HIV patients in Limpopo protest area

However, Thabiso Teffo, spokesperson for Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phopi Ramathuba, said this was not true. “I can confirm with you that no shortage of medicine, namely ARVs, was reported due to the unrest in the area,” said Teffo.

“The only challenge which we are having is the shortage of the Lamivudine 300mg, but it is not caused by the protests in area; it is a national problem which we are currently experiencing at the moment.

“Even though we are currently experiencing shortages when it comes to the supply of Lamivudine, we are currently prescribing a combination of Tenovir and Lamivudine to all our patients,” he added

Poor service delivery

“I can assure you that all our facilities have the fixed-dose combination ARVs,” said, Teffo. Over 85 percent of patients are on FDC ARVs.

Read: The sooner you're on ARVs the better

Over the past months, the Mashau clinic has come under attack from the local residents for poor service delivery, shortage of ambulances and medications.

Teffo said that the department is investigating the matter: “We are currently investigating all the claims which had been brought to our attention, because as a department we value the health of all our people who receive their medications at all our facilities,” he said.

Earlier attempts to get comment from Limpopo health department spokesperson Derick Kganyago failed. – Health-e News.

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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