In Lusikisiki earlier this week there was an outcry over shortages of antiretroviral treatment at eight clinics in the Qaukeni sub-district. The reports were received from HIV/Aids Adherence Counsellors and concerned service users.
All twelve clinics in the sub-district are allocated adherence counsellors to provide adherence support, monitoring and tracing of ARV defaulters.
OurHealth called eight clinics Malangeni, Village, Goso Forest, Mpoza, Palmerton, Mantlaneni, Xurana and Magwa clinics to validate the reported ARV shortages.
The adherence counsellor from Goso Forest Nonzwakazi Gogo clinic said: "We experienced shortages on stavudine, Efavirenz, Fixed Dose Combination, TDF and 3TC. About twenty service users were turned away on Monday. They were told to come back on Tuesday."
When asked about their emergency plan she said they asked at St Elizabeth Gateway clinic.
"From the supply that we got from Gateway clinic we are able to dispense a weekly supply of 3TC treatment to twelve service users. The other eight did not pitch up on Tuesday but I am tracking them,” she said.
OurHealth called an assistant pharmacist Mr Sifundo Macingwane at Gateway clinic to find out who was responsible for all this chaotic situation.
He told OurHealth: "I received the orders from eleven clinics on 14 May, processed and sent them to Mthatha depot. Currently I am ordering the supply of eleven clinics. So I do not know what is causing this delay."
He referred me to Mthatha depot medical stores.
Mr Thwantwa, a supervisor at HIV stores at Mthatha depot told OurHealth: "We received, processed and packed the orders from Qaukeni Local Service Area and and we finished by Friday. The supply was dispatched on Monday. Otherwise all the supply they ordered was properly packed. You need to check with the Gateway clinic."
Gateway Clinic operational manager Mrs Thandiwe Masumpa said she was aware of the shortages.
"The supply of the LSA was delivered on Monday. But I am very glad for the initiative taken to follow this issue properly. This sounds like good lines of communications exist and the referrals done will improve our health systems."
Skynet services confirmed that the supply was delivered on Monday.
TAC district organiser Zukile Madikizela told OurHealth: "Somewhere along the line someone has to be held responsible and we need to pressurise officials to be accountable. And we need to constantly monitor stock-outs in health facilities as it will help improve access to health care services for the benefit of communities and health care workers".
Tandeka Hlongwane is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Lusikisiki in the OR Tambo district in the Eastern Cape.