President Edgar Lungu has today commissioned phase II of the Ultra-Modern Central warehouse of the Medical Stores Limited.
The warehouse which has been put up at a total cost of over 15 million United States dollars will increase the storage capacity for the Medical Stores Limited.
Speaking during the commissioning of the warehouse in Lusaka today, President Lungu declared a zero tolerance to stock-outs of essential medicines and other pharmaceutical supplies in public health institutions.
The Head of State has since directed Minister of Finance Bwalya N’gandu to closely work with Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya, and ensure that the procurement of medicines and medical supplies is prioritised.
President Lungu said government’s goal is to provide a user friendly health care system which ensures that essential medicines, and medical supplies are accessible and available at service delivery points, in order to meet the health needs of the people irrespective of where they are.
He said government’s focus in the next three years of the Seventh National Development Plan (7thNDP) will be to build on the gains made so far in the health sector, and to further improve the health and well-being of the people.
President Lungu said government is spending huge sums of money to ensure availability of medicines, and medical supplies in the health facilities, saying those charged with the responsibility to safeguard these, must do it with utmost care and accountability.
He said government will not tolerate pilferage of medicines, and medical supplies at the new and old facilities.
President Lungu said this situation if left unchecked, will deny the people of the much needed medicines, and medical supplies.
He further said that government will ensure the enforcement of the relevant policy, legal, and operational instruments, in order to guarantee high standards of safety, and security including efficiency throughout the supply chains.
President Lungu said this modern facility is a show of government’s unwavering commitment to fulfilling the promises made to the Zambian people who gave them a mandate to do so.
Speaking earlier, Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA Alessandro Mariani said access to medicine means access to medical treatment and ensuring that patients receive the right treatment at the right time.
Mr Mariani said the state of the art storage and distribution facility that has been commissioned is going to significantly improve access to quality medicines for the population of Zambia.
He said the Lusaka medical store is the backbone of the medicines supply chain in Zambia, storing 80 percent of all medicines in the public sector.
Meanwhile United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote said over the last 15 years ,the US government has partnered with the Zambian government to ensure that HIV, malaria, family planning, and maternal and child health commodities reach every corner of the country.
Mr Foote said the US government has invested in the regional storage hubs, purchased transport vehicles, and trained staff in the skills necessary to manage the increasing complicates systems.
Mr Foote said this in a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S Embassy Baxter Bethany.