The long duration and high magnitude of HIV/AIDS drugs stock-outs at public health facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo puts patients at higher risk of treatment interruption, developing anti-retroviral resistance, treatment failure, morbidity and mortality, a new research has revealed.
In a new report that details the findings of a research that assessed the magnitude and duration of drug stock-outs and diagnostic test facilities around the capital Kinshasa, the Public Library of Science said in 54% of the cases recorded between April and May 2015, the patients did not receive any medicines at all.
Entitled ‘Stock-outs of HV commodities in public health facilities in Kinshasa: Barriers to end HIV’, the report detailed findings from a survey which covered 28 high HIV-burden health facilities and 64 low-burden facilities, which serve around 22 000 anti-retroviral therapy (ART) patients.
“During the study period, a national shortage of the newly introduced first-line regimen Tenofovir-Lamivudine-Efavirenz resulted in stock-outs of this regimen in 56% of high-burden and 43% of low-burden facilities, lasting a median of 36 and 44 days until the day of the survey visit respectively.
“Each of the other investigated commodities were found out of stock in at least two low-burden and two high-burden facilities. In 73% of stock-out cases, the commodity was absent at the facility but present at the upstream warehouse. In 54% of the ART stock-out cases, patients did not receive any medicines,” the report said.
Further, the research found that stock-outs of HIV commodities were common in all facilities covered by the survey. In some cases, patients were switched to different ART regimens.
To limit the impact of drug stock-outs, the DR Congolese government should find ways of covering the drug supply gaps and consider ‘additional planning’ ahead of the introduction of new ART regimens.