Procurement ''bottlenecks'' contributed to missed targets in HIV treatment

1 October 2010

1 October 2010 | Angeline Albert     

“Weak procurement” has contributed to government and charitable health organisations’ failure to hit a global target for HIV prevention and care according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

The comments follow the publication of a report produced by the WHO, United NationsChildren's Fund(UNICEF) and Joint United NationsProgramme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) which presents the progress made in 144 countries towards achieving the 2010 target of providing universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care.

The WHO statement said: “Obstacles to scaling up HIV treatment persist in most countries, including funding shortages, limited human resources, and weak procurement and supply management systems for HIV drugs and diagnostics and other health systems bottlenecks. One third of countries reported at least one or more cases when supply of HIV medicines had been interrupted in 2009.”

Achieving uninterrupted supplies of drugs for antiretroviral therapy to counter HIV is described in the report as “a major challenge”.

The study said: “Greater efforts must be made to identify and address bottlenecks in drug procurement and management, particularly in the context of an expected increase both in the number of people on treatment and complexity of drug regimens, as more patients move from first- to second- and third-line antiretroviral regimens.”

It added that once potential low stock issues are identified, governments and partners - through close collaboration and information sharing - must assess regional stock levels and reallocate them as needed. It said when facing a drugs shortage on national level, countries should make an emergency order to other international partners with buffer stocks.

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