The Ministry of Health of Health on Wednesday January 19 acquired 349,393 bottles of Tenofovir/Lamivudine/Dolutegravir (TLD – B/90) tablets, to be distributed to all Rwandans living with HIV/AIDS.
The tablets which were donated by USAID-Rwanda are worth $8 million and expected to last a year.
The shipment of the drugs was officially received by Rwanda Medical Supply Ltd (RMS), under the Transforming Rwanda Medical Supply Chain (TRMS) project.
According to a June 2020 Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) survey HIV prevalence in Rwanda stands at 3 per cent, and 227,896 people are currently living with HIV.
Speaking to The New Times, Dr Corneille Ntihabose, Head of Department of Clinical and Public Health services at the Ministry of Health said that the tablets received are a ‘three in one’ treatment.
“This means that instead of taking three tablets a day, the patient will only be taking one and one bottle is enough to last three months,” he said.
Ntihabose added that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the distribution of HIV medicine was not interrupted, adding that there are strategies in place at any health facility in the country to help all the HIV patients in the country access medicines in case of any future interruptions.
He added that 97 per cent of all HIV patients in the country take their medicine well and regularly, and taking this medicine is a way to help increase their life span and improve their health and reduce HIV related deaths.
“The remaining three per cent are considered to be in high risk groups like sex workers, or people with multiple sexual partners and this is where we are putting more efforts so they can get tested regularly and receive medication accordingly” he added.
Robin Martz, Health Office Director at USAID/Rwanda, lauded the country’s efforts in providing the lifesaving drugs to its population despite the challenges posed by the C0vid-19 pandemic.
“This shows the dedication in providing quality medicine, on time and affordable to all Rwandans, and setting a global example that medicine procurement is an approach that can be effectively done and in a timely manner,”
“However the work does not end here, we must keep up the efficiency in providing these medicines to the people who need them” she added.
The shipment of these HIV treatment drugs was the first activity under the TRMS project.
The project that is expected to improve the efficiency of Rwanda’s health commodity supply chain has been allocated $ 75 million and will run for a period of five years.