The European Union delegation in Zambia and Medical Stores Limited have signed a grant agreement worth EUR 4.8 million (approximately K58, 000, 000) to support the establishment of a central warehouse for processing medicines that meet international quality standards.
Speaking during the signature ceremony, EU Ambassador to Zambia Alessandro Mariani said that the grant would significantly enhance MSL capacity and efficiency to store and distribute medicines and assist MSL and the Ministry of Health to improve effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the pharmaceutical supply management system, which will ultimately benefit the health needs of the Zambian people.
Mr. Mariani implored upon MSL the importance of matching this investment with effective policy and institutional reforms, adequate management and governance systems as well as with enhanced staff capacity and skills transfers, ingredients to ensure that the results are sustainable beyond the lifetime of the HSS Programme.
“It is crucial that this important investment contributes in a sustainable manner towards the improvement in availability and correct use of quality assured medicines,” stated Mr. Mariani.
“With EU financing under the 18 million Euros funded Health Systems Strengthening Programme, we are supporting the Second Phase of the MSL Masterplan for Extension of the Central Warehouse. We expect that our support will contribute to a fully-fledged and operational storage and distribution system at the central warehouse,” stated Mr. Mariani.
Besides the construction of the warehouse, the two-years project will support the establishment of a storage space for hazardous goods, the renovation of existing stores and surroundings as well as the construction of the much needed infrastructures of the warehouse support units.
Medical Stores Managing Director Chikuta Mbewe said the grant agreement was a major milestone for the institution as they had waited for the opportunity since 2013.
Mr. Mbewe said that the grant agreement is an investment that belonged to the people of Zambia while also contributing towards the national development of the country.
“We recognise this huge investment for MSL as we have been grappling with managing the supplies on a daily basis in the midst of the risks associated with wastage and diversion as we operate in scattered offices and warehouses. As such, through this investment, we can expand our current storage facility threefold in terms of capacity which will optimise our opportunity in running MSL in the most productive manner,” said Mr. Mbewe.
He said the signing of this agreement is will contribute towards improving the quality of lives of the Zambian people across the country as medicines are special for the quality of life of the population.