CITAM Plus Policy and Advocacy Officer says his organization has received with extreme sadness news that the Zambian Government procured Anti-retroviral Drugs (ARVs) that have a short shelf life span.
Mr Nhlane said it is disheartening to learn that the drugs have since expired.
In a statement, Mr Nhlane said the submissions by Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Peter Mwaba Parliamentary Accounts Committee in which he revealed that government spent colossal sums on ARVs and other drugs that had a short shelf lifespan was a danger and that the risk posed by the drugs was unimaginable as well as a source of concern to his organization.
“According to submissions to Parliamentary Accounts Committee by Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Peter Mwaba, it was revealed and reported in the Media that a total of K13, 750, 821 was spent on ARVs and other drugs that had a short shelf lifespan.
“We note with dismay that government officers that are in charge of procurement would allow the procurement of ARVs, which are life pro-longing for many of our colleagues, among other drugs that have a short shelf life.
“The acquiring of these drugs with a short shelf life at a cost of K13, 750, 821 is undesirable and posed a great danger to the consumers as their health and lives are at risk and the risk posed is unimaginable and a source of concern to us as CITAM Plus and indeed other organisations working around health as well as individuals that are HIV/AIDS Advocates,” he said.
We demand that the Ministry tells the nation why it allowed such a bad and wasteful consignment
He explained that it is disheartening to have to fight the image of implementing countries wasting precious funds through mismanagement.
“As advocates, we spend our time convincing donors of the importance of contributing to the Global Fund. It is disheartening to have to fight the image of implementing countries wasting precious funds through mismanagement. We demand that Government put in place a transparent process that will build on lessons learned to reassure the public that further funds will not be wasted.
“We wonder how and why the Zambian Government accepted such a huge consignment without taking necessary measures into consideration.This is totally unacceptable and a waste to national resources that could have been used on other things especially that the country is under economic stress conditions,” he said.
He further said his organization demands that the Ministry explains to the nation why it allowed such a wasteful consignment and that erring officers be take to task and disciplined
“We demand that the Ministry tells the nation why it allowed such a bad and wasteful consignment and further demand that all erring officers be disciplined so as to send a warning to others and deter further occurrence. It is not long ago that we complained of shortage of ARVs and acquiring of expired ARVs which the government defended and maintained that there were no such issues. Despite our earlier warnings, it is so saddening that such has re-occurred.
“We further wonder why the Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya told Parliament that the country had not purchased expired drugs when a day later his Permanent Secretary confirmed that indeed reports of expired drugs were true. Such statements make us begin to have worries on the truthfulness of our leaders on matters of importance especially that borders on life,” he said.