Some patients in Harare said hospitals were only supplying them with the new Tenofovir drug and advising them to purchase the nevirapine component without explaining why it is not included in the free package.
“I get Tenofovir for free at Parirenyatwa Hospital and buy Nevirapine at the pharmacy,” one beneficiary said.
“Nevirapine costs US$16 for a unit which lasts for a month.
“I thought I could do without it but the nurses told me that it is important for me to buy the drug as it was essential for my treatment.”
Although Parirenyatwa CEO Thomas Zigora could not be reached for comment as his mobile went unanswered, a nurse at the hospital said there was a “temporary shortage of the drugs”.
But National Aids Council (NAC) chief executive Tapiwa Magure refuted the claims saying all centres were adequately supplied.
“I am coming out of a meeting where the pharmacy people told us that all centres were adequately supplied,” Magure said.
“We are purchasing the drugs and people are supposed to get all of them for free.”
The Zimbabwe HIV and Aids Activists’ Union (Zhaau) said government was failing the people.
“We have been receiving reports of shortages over the past three weeks,” he said.
“Right now I have three patients who have just been advised to purchase the drugs and two of them are a couple, so tell me where these people will get the money from,” Zhaau president Bernard Nyathi said.
It is estimated that more than 600 000 Zimbabweans are in need of ART but the national programme can only cater for about 400 000.