The North West Department of Health said it has noted with concern various reports in the media regarding the alleged unavailability of medication for patients on Antiretroviral (ARVs), tuberculosis (TB) treatment and family planning following the release of the Second Edition of the Retshidze report recently.

“The Department deems the media reports as misleading as they do not provide an accurate impression of the state of the health in the North West Province particularly the current status of medicine availability in the province.

Therefore, the NWDoH refutes, with the contempt that it deserves the distorted information that has made its way into the public space as a result of the Retshidze report, an assessment compiled based on observations and interviews without soliciting facts from the department which is the custodian of public health services in the province,” the departments said in a statement.

“The Department has as part of the Section 100 (1) (b) interventions made significant strides in addressing the shortages of medicine stock in provincial public health facilities. The overall provincial medicine availability has reached 81% as per national essential list in the 3rd quarter of 2021/2022. The availability of Antiretrovirals (ARVs) and vaccines for the Extended Programme on Immunization has been maintained above 92%, while Tuberculosis (TB) medicines are above 82%. The Province has developed and put in place a system to track medicine availability in the province. This system allows for stock to be transferred between facilities depending on individual needs of each facility.” “The Department will experience shortages of specific items from time to time when there is a national problem with that specific medicine. However, information regarding a departmental process of lodging general complaints is available at various health facilities. Through this process, persons who experience medicine shortages can escalate their challenges should they believe they do not get cooperation from the health facilities they are visiting,” health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgwetane said.

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