The default rate for patients on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) in Ntcheu is pegged at 40 per cent which is threatening the attainment of 90:90:90 HIV initiatives.
ART Coordinator for Ntcheu, Dave Muhasuwa disclosed this on Friday at Masimale village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Kwataine during a joint review of TB and HIV Global Fund Programme.
He said of the 53,000 patients on ART treatment 32,000 were accessing the drugs from various outreach points in the district.
Muhasuwa said some patients are on treatment but they provided the health facilities with wrong addresses for their locations and it is making the follow up visits very difficult.
He said the District hospital has over 5,000 active patients accessing their medication on regularly basis.
“We are suspecting that some of the patients are from neigbouring villages from Mozambique and they just come to access the drugs and never made follow up visits.
We are having problems to locate them. We are intending to start using national identity cards to all patients accessing the drugs from all our outreach points,” the coordinator stated.
Muhasuwa said they are facing challenges in updating their data saying the system they are using easily break down which is making the district to continue having an updated HIV data at times.
“We are facing challenges that when some patients are moving out of Ntcheu, they don’t come to health facilities to ask for transfers for continuity which should enable us remove them from our district data base,” he observed.
He bemoaned lack of adequate laboratory technicians in blood testing section making the process difficult although Lighthouse and EDCAF were assisting in provision such services.
Muhasuwa said the district has 33 ART outreach points with four computerised centres which include the District Hospital, Sister Tereza Hospital, Lizulu and Kasinje Health Centres.
Manet + Resource Mobilisation and Advocacy Officer, Lyness Soko said HIV patients are always encouraged to stay health and take their medication daily.
“ARV are there to help reduce the spread of HIV among communities and it disheartening that some patients are defaulting which is put pressure to the attainment of the HIV initiative,” Soko added.