BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE/VANESSA GONYE
Government has procured an assortment of drugs and medical supplies worth ZWR$80 million for distribution in the wake of serious shortages of basic drugs at public health institutions.
Speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo said government was making strides in ensuring that health facilities had adequate medical supplies.
“We are thankful for the interbank rate of 2,5% which has enabled us to make quotations in RTGS dollars. We have been able to buy supplies worth ZWR$80 million and they are being transported to NatPharm for accountability purposes,” he said.
Moyo said government was in the process of engaging Indian companies to help local drug manufacturing firms in ensuring the consistent supply of medicine.
“We are buying 80% of our medical supplies from India and we want to be a player in the manufacturing industry. We need to revamp and restructure companies like CAPS, VariChem and others,” Moyo said.
“We are engaging with Indian companies, which will revamp these medical industries and we have been receiving donations from partners United Nations and United Arab Emirates.”
He said the ZWR$80 million facility was part of an annual allocation of US$400 million required to beef up drug supply.
“We are mainly depending on donations for now and they have been keeping us afloat, as we inherited the system when there was nothing and that is where we are now,” Moyo said, making reference to the current state of drug supply in the country.
Responding to the minister’s presentation, Health and Child Care Committee chairperson Ruth Labode said nothing tangible had been witnessed in health institutions.
“I am receiving nice plans and dreams, but there is nothing concrete to prove it. Currently, what is the state of affairs pertaining to the Global Fund allocated drugs?” she queried.
In reference to a question on the re-allocation of expired drugs, Health ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji said the incident happened as a result of the lengthy process required before drugs could be destroyed.
“It is a rigorous process before destruction of drugs. It starts at NatPharm and goes to the ministry before it is finalised by Treasury, which in most cases is where the process is delayed. We cannot destroy the expired medicines without approval of Treasury because the drugs are government assets,” he said.