MASVINGO – SolidarMed, a Swiss-headquartered NGO has come to the rescue of Masvingo City Council and donated 1 000 Ceftriaxone STI cure kits after the local authority’s four clinics ran out of drugs from November 2021.
The shortage of drugs saw STI cases rising by almost 50% between December and March.
The drugs were handed over to Masvingo Town Clerk, Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa by SolidarMed Support Unit manager, Witness Chigaba
Masvingo chief health officer Suzanne Madamombe told a small function held at the Civic Centre to receive the medicines that the local authority ran out of Ceftriaxone for injection immunox, the drug used to cure STIs because the supplier Natpharm did not have it in stock for most of the fourth quarter of 2021.
She told guests that the absence of STI medicines started to see cases reported at the council’s four clinics rising steeply from January to April and this prompted council to look for donors and that is how SolidarMed chipped in.
“When we ran out of drugs we started asking patients to buy from private pharmacies but these are way too expensive and many would not buy but continue to be sexually active thereby spreading the diseases to others.
“Many of the patients are sex workers and this is one reason we think is the cause of the steep rise in the STIs,” said Madamombe
There were 159 STI cases reported in November and they fell to 132 in December. However, in January the cases started increasing steeply from 136 to 183 in February, 194 in March and 190 in April. The increase between the minimum figure December and the maximum in March is 46,9%.
Madamombe also bemoaned the lack of STI screening equipment at council clinics which is supposed to diagnose they type of STI. Because clinics cannot diagnose, patients have to be treated with three different drugs, namely Ceftriaxone, cefixime and ciproflaxin. She also decried the uptake of condoms and the proper use as too low.
She said that the common types of STIs treated in Masvingo are Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Human papillomavirus and Syphilis. She said that STIs can result in male and female sterility, still birth and low birth weight.
Mukaratirwa thanked SolidarMed for its intervention and said that the Masvingo City Council has had a longstanding relationship with the NGO. Apart from the fact that SoldarMed is housed at the Civic Center, the two have some programmes that they run together.
SolidarMed Support Unit manager, Witness Chigaba said his organisation is Swiss-headquartered and also locally registered in Zimbabwe with the Ministry of Labour. The organisation however, works through the Ministry of Health and Child Care and has four programmes including Smart B under which the donation took place.
Smart B is a programme on HIV and TB which also covers STIs.
Chigaba was accompanied by Cordelia Kunzekwenyika the project manager for HIV and TB.https://masvingomirror.com/