The community antiretroviral dispensing strategy in Cameroon was adopted in 2015. It sets up three (03) methods of dispensing ARVs as part of the care of people living with HIV:
- community dispensing of ARVs by Community Based Organizations (CBOs),
- community dispensation by support groups or observance clubs,
- community-based ARV dispensing by community antiretroviral therapy groups.
These methods aim to respond to the difficulties of access to ARVs experienced by people living with HIV by relieving congestion in health facilities with large active queues and contributing to the retention of people living with HIV under treatment. However, since 2017, only one model has already been implemented, namely dispensing by CBOs. A few years after its implementation, its evaluation took hold and the idea of dispensing ARVs in pharmacies would like to be explored following the expression of need by the beneficiaries. In order therefore to mature the reflection, the National AIDS Control Committee (NACC) invited various partners to a meeting on the prospective and examination of the possibilities of dispensing ARVs in private pharmacies; which was held on Friday, February 19, 2021 in the CNLS meeting room. Civil society was represented there by CCSC-HEALTH, RECAP +, Affirmative Action and Horizon Femmes.
The general objective of the meeting was to reflect with institutional actors on the feasibility of the strategy for dispensing ARVs in private pharmacies.
At the end of the discussions, it should be noted that the model of the dispensing of ARVs in pharmacies being the wish of the beneficiaries could be explored in Cameroon. Nevertheless, it is first necessary to capitalize and strengthen the community dispensing of ARVs in CBOs before considering it. Finally, it is important to deepen and mature the study by taking into account the following points:
- Free dispensing of ARVs in private pharmacies;
- Analysis of the following factors: the cost of the investment, the precise layout in private pharmacies, the availability of qualified human resources, the motivation of the staff, the financing model appropriate to this dispensing model, the sustainability of this model;
- Orientation of reflection on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach to the fight against HIV;
- The establishment of a technical working group to mature the reflection;
- The involvement of the Cameroon Pharmacists Order in the reflection;
- The development of a decision support document that must be presented to the hierarchy.
The implementation of these proposals will certainly contribute to improve solutions with a sustainable impact in the national response against HIV / AIDS in Cameroon.