North West hospitals and clinics could run out of medicine in just days as a go-slow at its central medicine depot enters its second month, provincial communications Tebogo Lekgethwane has confirmed.

“With the strike, it means nothing is coming into the hospital or clinics”, warns Glenda Muzenda, who manages the Stop Stockouts Project, a civil society coalition that monitors medicine availability in the public sector.

HIV-positive patients who would normally be sent at least a month of antiretrovirals (ARVs) are now being issued with as few as three days’ worth of the drugs, Muzenda says. ARV rationing in the province means that patients are having to return to clinics to pick up smaller batches of the drugs more often, increasing the risk they will miss doses, she warns.

Muzenda fears that treatment interruptions will put patients at risk of developing resistance to the medication. ….more