Uganda is facing a shortage of HIV testing kits in government health facilities, a recent survey carried out by HIV/AIDS activists indicates.
The study conducted in 24 districts revealed that there is scarcity of HIV test kits in both private and public health facilities for the last three months.
Margaret Happy, the advocacy manager of The National Forum for People living with HIV/AIDS (NAFOPHANU) made the revelation during a press briefing at Mengo on Tuesday.
“HIV testing is critical entry point to treatment access, PMTCT and prevention of sexual transmission of HIV. The absence of the kits affects efforts to combat the disease,” she said.
The survey indicates that stock outs of HIV test kits have been severe in Bundibugyo, Kalangala, Mityana, Kasese, Kamwenge and Iganga among other districts.
Dorothy Namutamba, a programs officer at International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS East Africa (ICEWEA) reported stock out of drugs for opportunistic infections especially septrine and dapson.
“In the region of Karamoja, we found out that some districts have sufficient supplies but with low levels of community demand while other regions had low supplies of ARTS,” she said.
Namutamba appealed to government to extend buffer stock services at community level in order to reduce on stock outs.
The Ministry of Health passed a policy in 2011 to integrate and harmonize supply chain management activities of essential medicines including TB medicines.
The harmonization aimed at having one reliable system where planning, procurement, distribution and monitoring of medicines availability can be easily tracked.
Following the directive, NTLP shifted responsibilities of procurement, storage, and distribution of TB medicines and related supplies to the central warehouse, the National Medical Store (NMS).