via ‘Public hospitals allowing drugs to expire on shelves’. – NEWSDAY 10 June 2014 By Veneranda Langa
AIDS and Arts Foundation (TAAF) executive director Emmanuel Gasa yesterday accused public hospitals of allowing some imported drugs to expire on their shelves when many patients were failing to access medication due to prohibitive costs.
Gasa told NewsDay in an interview that government should swiftly come up with systems to ensure that all parts of the country were adequately covered in terms of availability of drugs instead of having a higher concentration of drugs at certain hospitals while others did not have anything in their stocks.
His remarks come following reports last week by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, chaired by MDC-T legislator Ruth Labode, that a number of drugs at Ingutsheni Mental Hospital in Bulawayo had been incinerated after they expired.
“It is not good to hear reports that drugs have expired and incinerated when many sick people in different parts of the country are failing to access them,” said Gasa.
“Government should come up with a clear policy on storage and distribution of drugs because there are many people with mental problems who are failing to access drugs,” he said.
He said HIV and Aids had increased the number of patients who needed mental health care and some of them were failing to access those drugs.
According to a report by the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) on the 2014 health budget analysis, some areas in Zimbabwe had an oversuply of drugs while others had nothing.
CWGH executive director Itai Rusike said there was also need to capacitate the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe so that it did the duties of drug procurement, storage and distribution.
He said poor logistics in distribution of drugs led to inadequate drugs at the level of care and in areas that needed them most while in other areas drugs ended up expiring.
“Without adequate drugs at the primary level, most people would be forced to seek care at the next level of care or buy expensive drugs from the private sector,” Rusike said.