Written by on March 18, 2022

IT is now clear that the country’s health sector is in crisis and Government must move in fast and ensure that medicines are procured for public hospitals and clinics.

There are a number of stakeholders who have raised concern over the non-availability of drugs in public health centres, with patients being given only prescriptions to buy medicines from private pharmacies.

Already, some political parties have given notice that they plan to hold public protests over the government’s failure to ensure health facilities are well stocked with medicines.

And in Parliament on Wednesday, Chama South Member of Parliament, Davison Mung’andu warned that failure by the new dawn administration to procure drugs for public hospitals has potential to put the lives of Zambians at great risk.

Mr Mung’andu said most health centres in both rural and urban areas are without drugs, and that citizens are now only issued with prescriptions and told to buy medicine from private drug stores.

Mr Mung’andu, speaking when he raised a matter of urgent public importance, observed that for the past six months since the UPND was elected to office, the government has failed to procure drugs for the hospitals.

It is important that the government quickly responds to the concerns being raised from citizens so that people could have faith in public health centres.

Government must defuse the myth that it has failed to run the health care sector and explain what the problems are so that there is no speculations.

It is hard to understand how there are no drugs in hospitals when the government is reported to have released K814 million since last October for the procurement of drugs. 

That there have been changes in the manner in which drugs are procured from the Ministry of Health to the Zambia Medicines and Supplies Agency (ZAMSA) must not be used as an excuse for the shortage of drugs.

A Copperbelt-based pharmaceutical expert, Mr Jerome Kanyika maintains that the ZAMSA management was failing to handle what was happening at the organisation.

Mr Kanyika suggests that President Hakainde Hichilema must quickly move in and dissolve the ZAMSA Board to improve operations.

Whatever bottlenecks the ZAMSA is facing in ensuring that drugs are ordered and hospitals stocked with medicines, these must be identified and sorted out.

That some political parties now plan to take to the streets should not be viewed as politicking.  It is a genuine concern that must be accepted in a democratic set up.

The Economic Freedom Fighters president, Mr Kasonde Mwenda has taken the lead for organising the protests against drugs shortages he alleged is “due to a combination of poor planning and lack of seriousness by those charged with the responsibility.”

The concerns raised by the various stakeholders should spur the government to act and realise the enormous responsibility that has been placed on its shoulders.

It can only respond by ensuring that health centres are adequately stocked with medicines in line with its campaign promise.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current track