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Zimbabwe Continues To Face Medicine Shortages, Stock-Outs, PlusNews Reports

“Chronic shortages of generic and antiretroviral drugs, stock-outs, high medication costs, and long distances to clinics are some of the hurdles people face in their quest to access essential medicines in Zimbabwe,” PlusNews reports. Since 2009, the national government has not funded “the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm), which is mandated with securing drugs and health care products on behalf of state institutions,” the news service writes, adding, “To make matters worse, over 80 percent of the country’s drugs are externally funded.” PlusNews continues, “Itai Rusike, the executive director of the Community Working Group on Health, a network of civil society organizations, warns that depending on donors to supply the country with medication is ‘unsustainable.'”

The news service describes how “[c]ivil society groups are hoping the roll-out of the Tendai — an acronym for Tracking Essential National Medicines and Diagnostics Access Initiative — project will monitor the availability of medications at health care facilities and gradually bring about some improvement.” According to PlusNews, “Under the initiative, community health workers from a network of civil society partners use mobile phones to collect data on the availability of medicines at points of access in participating countries, which include South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe” (1/11).