GABORONE – In preparation of COVID-19 restrictions in Botswana, the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the government’s Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Central Medical Stores did an audit on the availability of medicine such as antiretrovirals (ARVs). According to UNAIDS, Botswana needed to acquire 2.3 million doses of ARVs for adults living with HIV to meet the demand for the following nine months1.
With a 20.3% prevalence of adults living with HIV in Botswana, it is one of the countries where the pandemic is the most prevalent. Botswana was the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to distribute universal free ARVs to people living with HIV2.
The Uganda-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, CiplaQCIL, was able to meet the country’s demand of the fixed-dose combination of tenofovir, lamivudine, dolutegravir (TLD) – the country’s first-line ARV.
CiplaQCIL has two-thirds of the 1 million packs of TLD (37 tons) to Botswana and the consignment was transported by chartered Boeing 727 cargo freight planes. The balance of the order will be delivered later in July. CEO of CiplaQCIL, Nevin Bradford, said: “Botswana faced a potentially critical situation in terms of shortages of essential medicine. We are proud that CiplaQCIL was able to rise to the challenge and ensure that people have access to lifesaving medicine, while also delivering on our ‘Africa for Africa’ commitment”.
CiplaQCIL recently also dispatched 300 000 packs of ARVs (a combination of tenofovir, emtricatabine, efavirenz) to South Africa, and will shortly deliver 1.5 million malaria treatments to Kenya.