Cyclone Freddy: Health ministry enhances ART access for displaced recipients – Capital Radio Malawi
24 September, 2023

Cyclone Freddy: Health ministry enhances ART access for displaced recipients

Health authorities have devised an open system of receiving Anti Retroviral (ART) services in areas affected by cyclone Freddy to improve access to treatment for survivors.

Secretary for health, Charles Mwansambo has revealed the development in a statement.

Statistics from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs-DoDMA shows that  174,594 people living with HIV are part of the displaced population sheltered in evacuation camps.

In response to the statistics the Ministry of health is providing guidance on policy implementation.

It has emerged that during the disaster some people living with HIV have lost documents and medicines making it difficult for them to access health care services.

According to health authorities, it has also become a challenge for health care providers to identify them.

In a bid to avoid HIV prevention and treatment services interruption, health authorities have provided the policy guidance.

For instance health facilities have been advised to handle as emergency refill or transfer anyone who present documentation that they are on ART.

For patients seeking medication services without any documentation, the provider is advised to provide ART refill on the conditions that the client is known to be on ART by the ART Provider.

Mwansambo explains that considering medicine storage conditions in the camps, patients living in camps should only be given a month supply of ARVs and other HIV commodities.

“We recommend registration of people living with HIV accessing ART at camps as transfer in for easy tracking,” said Mwansambo in the statement.

The ministry is aware that some health facilities were heavily affected by the cyclone and lost all documents including recipient of care master cards.

On this, Mwansambo hints that EMR partner-EGPAF backed up all patient level data after the cyclone alert.

He has since recommended that the E-master cards for those facilities should be reprinted and sent to the facility.

District teams are requested to conduct outreach clinics covering sites that cannot provide health services until renovations are done and service provision is restored.

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