Zimbabwe Becomes First African Nation To Approve HIV Prevention Drug.
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe announced the approval for the use of the long-acting injectable cabotegravir (CAB-LA), a HIV prevention drug recently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), making Zimbabwe the first country in Africa and the third in the world to approve.
The drug has been certified for use by Regulators in Australia and the US, and the WHO welcomed the move by Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s healthcare system is reportedly facing extreme difficulties amid the country’s economic crisis and no one at the Ministry of Health was available to comment on the new medicine, the Guardian reports.
The WHO said in a statement that regulatory approval was a “crucial step”, adding that it would support Zimbabwe “to design and develop programmes so that CAB-LA can be implemented, safely and effectively, for greatest impact”.
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The drug has renewed hopes of further reducing deaths in southern Africa and follows the WHO’s recommendation in July that CAB-LA is highly effective at reducing transmission among people at most risk of contracting HIV.
Nyasha Sithole, of the Development Agenda for Girls and Women in Africa (DAWA) network, said:
“Accelerating HIV prevention for girls and young women requires an expansion on choices available. I am excited and proud to know that my own country has approved the use of CAB-LA. This will contribute to our basket of HIV prevention tools that work for us as girls and women in Zimbabwe.”
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