Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
The National Aids Council (NAC) has urged Government to consider manufacturing Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV) locally, amid fears that budget cuts by the United States will impact on funding.
Speaking at a workshop for parliamentarians ahead of World Tuberculosis Day commemorations, NAC finance director Mr Albert Manenji said the country largely relied on funding from the US to fight diseases.
Mr Manenji said Zimbabwe was importing $16 million worth of ART drugs.
He suggested the money should be injected into local pharmaceutical firms to enable them manufacture ARVs.
“There is need for us to start manufacturing our own ART treatment drugs,” said Mr Manenji.
“If we inject the same money that we are using to import the drugs from other countries, we will be able to have more quantities for the same amount.
“We use more than $16 million annually for ART and if that money is given to pharmaceutical firms, we will increase production and quantity of the drugs.
“We did the same with cotrimoxazole drugs.”
Speaking at the same forum, Ministry of Health and Child Care deputy director TB Control, Dr Charles Sandy concurred with Mr Manenji.
She said the budget cuts by the US will affected many countries, including Zimbabwe, when it comes to the health sector.
Zimbabwe is among the top 30 countries that are highly burdened by Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) after it recorded an increase in the cases between 2015 and 2016.
The country recorded 425 cases of MDR-TB in 2015 and the figure increased to 437 last year.