Antiretroviral drug supply challenges in the era of scaling up ART in Malawi

Management Sciences for Health, Lilongwe, Malawi.
Journal of the International AIDS Society (Impact Factor: 5.09). 07/2011; 14 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S4. DOI: 10.1186/1758-2652-14-S1-S4
Source: PubMed


The number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) has increased considerably in recent years and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. A major challenge is to maintain uninterrupted supplies of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and prevent stock outs. This article discusses issues around the management of ARVs and prevention of stock outs in Malawi, a low-income country with a high HIV/AIDS burden, and a weak procurement and supply chain management system. This system for ARVs, paid for by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and bypassing the government Central Medical Stores, is in place, using the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF's) procurement services. The system, managed by a handful of people who spend limited time on supply management, is characterized by a centrally coordinated quantification based on verified data from all national ART clinics, parallel procurement through UNICEF, and direct distribution to ART clinics. The model worked well in the first years of the ART programme with a single first-line ARV regimen, but with more regimens becoming available (e.g., alternative first-line, second-line and paediatric regimens), it has become more difficult to administer. Managing supplies through a parallel system has the advantage that weaknesses in the national system have limited influence on the ARV procurement and supply chain management system. However, as the current system operates without a central warehouse and national buffer stock capacity, it diminishes the ability to prevent ARV stock outs. The process of ordering ARVs, from the time that estimates are made to the arrival of supplies in health facilities, takes approximately one year. Addressing the challenges involved in maintaining ARVs through an efficient procurement and supply chain management system that prevents ARV stock outs through the establishment of a dedicated procurement team, a central warehouse and/or national buffer stock is a priority.

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Available from: Anne Ben-Smith, Oct 06, 2015
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    • "Side effects due to ART have been previously associated with risk of becoming LTFU, particularly in the earlier stages of ART [12], [21], [26], [27]. The use of stavudine-based first line regimens in Malawi at the time of the study may have influenced the prevalence of side effects although access to second-line drugs remains limited [21], [71], [72]. While there were differences in proportions across the types reported, the highest proportion of side effects were noted in Early visits. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Identifying follow-up (FU) visit patterns, and exploring which factors influence them are likely to be useful in determining which patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) may become Lost to Follow-Up (LTFU). Using an operation and implementation research approach, we sought 1) to describe the timing of FU visits amongst patients who have been on ART for shorter and longer periods of time; and 2) to determine the median time to late visits, and 3) to identify specific factors that may be associated with these patterns in Zomba, Malawi. Methods and Findings Using routinely collected programme monitoring data from Zomba District, we performed descriptive analyses on all ART visits among patients who initiated ART between Jan. 1, 2007–June 30, 2010. Based on an expected FU date, each FU visit was classified as early (≥4 day before an expected FU date), on time (3 days before an expected FU date/up to 6 days after an expected FU date), or late (≥7 days after an expected FU date). In total, 7,815 patients with 76417 FU visits were included. Ninety-two percent of patients had ≥2 FU visits. At the majority of visits, patients were either on time or late. The median time to a first late visit among those with 2 or more visits was 216 days (IQR: 128–359). Various patient- and visit-level factors differed significantly across Early, On Time, and Late visit groups including ART adherence and frequency of, and type of side effects. Discussion The majority of patients do not demonstrate consistent FU visit patterns. Individuals were generally on ART for at least 6 months before experiencing their first late visit. Our findings have implications for the development of effective interventions that meet patient needs when they present early and can reduce patient losses to follow-up when they are late. In particular, time-varying visit characteristics need further research.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e101875. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0101875 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "There has been considerable growth in patient's receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in recent years [1]. Up to 50% of long-term HIV-infected patients experience HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) [2]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Efavirenz (EFV) is among the most commonly used antiretroviral drugs globally, causes neurological symptoms that interfere with adherence and reduce tolerability, and may have central nervous system (CNS) effects that contribute in part to HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in patients on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Thus we evaluated a commonly used EFV containing regimen: EFV/zidovudine (AZT)/lamivudine (3TC) in murine N2a cells transfected with the human "Swedish" mutant form of amyloid precursor protein (SweAPP N2a cells) to assess for promotion of amyloid-beta (Aβ) production. Treatment with EFV or the EFV containing regimen generated significantly increased soluble amyloid beta (Aβ), and promoted increased β-secretase-1 (BACE-1) expression while 3TC, AZT, or, vehicle control did not significantly alter these endpoints. Further, EFV or the EFV containing regimen promoted significantly more mitochondrial stress in SweAPP N2a cells as compared to 3TC, AZT, or vehicle control. We next tested the EFV containing regimen in Aβ - producing Tg2576 mice combined or singly using clinically relevant doses. EFV or the EFV containing regimen promoted significantly more BACE-1 expression and soluble Aβ generation while 3TC, AZT, or vehicle control did not. Finally, microglial Aβ phagocytosis was significantly reduced by EFV or the EFV containing regimen but not by AZT, 3TC, or vehicle control alone. These data suggest the majority of Aβ promoting effects of this cART regimen are dependent upon EFV as it promotes both increased production, and decreased clearance of Aβ peptide.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e95500. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095500 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "An important part of the response in Malawi has been to decentralize the delivery of ART and related services, moving treatment from large, central district hospitals and tertiary care centres to primary health care settings with the consequence of increasing equity in access to the rural poor [11]. This is essential, as the Malawian Ministry of Health (MOH) attempts to double the number of people on ART from 250,000 in 2010 to 500,000 by 2015 [12]. DC has been found to be a safe and effective way to deliver care, with good levels of adherence and overall outcomes [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction The decentralization of HIV services has been shown to improve equity in access to care for the rural poor of sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of the impact of decentralization on costs borne by patients. Such information is valuable for economic evaluations of anti-retroviral therapy programmes that take a societal perspective. We compared costs reported by patients who received care in an urban centralized programme to those in the same district who received care through rural decentralized care (DC). Methods A cross-sectional survey on patient characteristics and costs associated with accessing HIV care was conducted, in May 2010, on 120 patients in centralized care (CC) at a tertiary referral hospital and 120 patients in DC at five rural health centres in Zomba District, Malawi. Differences in costs borne by each group were compared using χ2 and t-tests, and a regression model was developed to adjust for confounders, using bootstrapping to address skewed cost data. Results There was no significant difference between the groups with respect to sex and age. However, there were significant differences in socio-economic status, with higher educational attainment (p<0.001), personal income (p=0.007) and household income per person (p=0.005) in CC. Travel times were similar (p=0.65), as was time waiting at the clinic (p=0.63) and total time spent seeking care (p=0.65). There was a significant difference in travel-related expenses (p<0.001) related to the type of travel participants noted that they used. In CC, 60% of participants reported using a mini-bus to reach the clinic; in DC only 4% reported using a mini-bus, and the remainder reported travelling on foot or by bicycle. There were no significant differences between the groups in the amount of lost income reported or other out-of-pocket costs. Approximately 91 Malawi Kwacha (95% confidence intervals: 1–182 MKW) or US$0.59 represents the adjusted difference in total costs per visit between CC and DC. Conclusions Even within a system of HIV/AIDS care where patients do not pay to see clinicians or for most medications, they still incur costs. We found that most costs are travel related. This has important implications for poorer patients who live at a distance from health facilities for whom these costs may be significant.
    Journal of the International AIDS Society 03/2013; 16(1):18055. DOI:10.7448/IAS.16.1.18055 · 5.09 Impact Factor
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