Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya visited Medicle stores yesterday afternoon were he conducted a checkup and took time to verify the stock status of drugs in the Country.
Dr Chilufya said that Government through his Ministry would continue investing in resilient health systems that assured universal health coverage.
“One of the fundamental pillars we will be focusing on is the national supply chain for medicines.” he said.
Dr. Chilufya stated that it was of great importance that the public was kept informed to allay anxieties about medicine stockouts, Medicine expiries and other vices in the national supply chain.
“I will begin by stating that there is stability in the national supply chain. We have adequate stock of all public health commodities. We have adequate stock of ARVs, adequate stock of Anti Malarials. We have adequate stocks of Anti TB drugs, adequate stocks of many epidemic control logistics as well as essential antibiotics.” He said.
He stated that Government had continued to increase its investment in the medicine supply system.
“In the year 2018, we will see an increase of 56% in the drug budget . This demonstrates governments commitment to better health for all Zambian’s.” He said.
The Minister stated that in November, the medical stores limited, which is mandated with the responsibility to recieve, store and distribute medicines countrywide recieved stocks worth a Hundred and fourty Million Kwacha.
” In the 1st two months of december, medical stores has already received stocks worth 27 Million Kwacha. There are shipments that are in transit as we speak. This is to ensure that the medicine supply chain is stable. ” he said.
The Minister who stated that he wanted to go beyond rhetoric, then took the Media on a tour of the Medical Stores facility.
” Today, we will go beyond rhetoric and show you our warehouses were we keep our medicines. Show you the stock and also, for you to see the processes that go on here.” He said.
He stated that every day, work was being done at medical stores . He paid glowing tribute to the hard working, committed and dedicated members of staff at government stores.
” The staff you are seeing here are working . If you go down stairs, there is the distribution team which is busy loading trucks for distribution to various parts of the country.To various hubs of the Country.” He said.
The Minister also revealed that distribution of drug kits and medicines had commenced to areas that got cut off during rain season.
” We are distributing beyond three months stock to such areas to ensure that even when the weather becomes like this, when the areas become unreachable, People do not run out of stock.” He said.
“Washishi in Mitete is one such area. Many , Many areas which are hard to reach are now getting between 3 and 6 months stock of medicines to ensure that there is continuity in the drug supply chain.” He added.
Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya has stated that better security systems had been invested in at Medical Stores ltd to avoid pilferage.
” We are aware that there were cartels in the past that were responsible for slippages. We have invested in better systems and we have plagged the leak. And so we want to assure you that the slippages, the pilferage, that was picked out previously is being worked on and we have invested in better systems to avoid drug pilferage . ” He said.
We also want to send a signal to all health workers countrywide working at dispersing points in hospitals to desist from any practice that shall result in pilferage of drugs.” He added.
And the Minister further stated that the vast majority of health workers were proffesional and responsible and that he applauded them for that. But he had a stern warning for the few that were enganged in drug pilferage that they would be fished out and that the law would visit them.
” Our task force on medicines is active. It has DEC , Zambia Police, ZAMRA, Ministry of health. And we are improving our operations to ensure we root out the few that are involved in such vices. Said the Minister