Government is working with local universities to produce medicine and other essential drugs to tame corruption and price distortions when importing drugs, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday.
VP Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, was speaking during the World Diabetes Day commemorations in Gweru said the Ministry of Health and Child Care is working with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
He said the country was losing millions of dollars through the importation of drugs.
“The thrust is to make our own medicines. This business of importing (drugs) must come to an end,” he said.
“We have been creating a multitude of problems through importing. The challenge is that there is a long chain in importing drugs like insulin from Denmark or India. The drug is very cheap, but when it is imported through third parties it ends up becoming very expensive,” he said. VP Chiwenga said there was a lot of corruption and fighting for tenders when importing the drugs and his Ministry was working on ending the syndrome.
“It is a long process to get these drugs and when one fails to win a tender, to supply they begin to fight accusing each other of corruption, people crying foul, but as Government, we now want affordable drugs, which are accessible to many,” he added.
On diabetes, VP Chiwenga said the disease was accounting for many deaths in Zimbabwe, but could be prevented.
He said one in every 20 deaths in Zimbabwe was attributed to diabetes.
“Today, we are celebrating World Diabetes Day, but we have other non-communicable diseases to take note of. We, however, have disturbing statistics showing that diabetes will be a 7th leading cause of death by the year 2030.
“A recent study, which was done at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals show diabetes is the major cause of stroke, but most cases are preventable simply by way of lifestyle and presenting ourselves for screening and testing,” he said.