The political will which has been exhibited by President Edgar Lungu of investing massively in the health sector is steadily contributing to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage, Professor Lloyd Mulenga has said.
Professor Mulenga, who is the Ministry of Health Director, in charge of Infectious Diseases, has cited the procurement of the drug, Remdesivir, used in the effective treatment of severely ill COVID- 19 patients, as unprecedented and that it has motivated health workers.
In an exclusive interview with ZANIS on the Milestones the health sector has so far scored towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage, Prof Mulenga said some countries were not eager to procure expensive drugs such as Remdesivir, which is a different situation locally.
“You know when I interact with my colleagues who are running similar departments in other countries, I count myself blessed and as I said because of less political interference. One example is over COVID -19, there is a drug which we introduced called Remdesivir, and Remdesivir is an expensive drug, it costs 120 dollars for one vial,’ Professor Mulenga explained.
He said with severe infections we give 10 vials, that’s 1,200 dollars. We presented this to the leadership of the Ministry of Health, the technical leadership also the political leadership and this went through. We received 1,000 doses which we currently have,” he explained.
Prof Mulenga noted that other leaders would think purchasing such a drug is a waste of money but on the contrary, it is a huge investment in human capital.
“Now some leaders would think that it’s a waste of money, where for us we look at it as an investment in human capital because when we treat one patient, that patient will be alive and that will lead also to fewer transmissions,” Prof Mulenga said.
He added that the Remdesivir drug further reduces the recovery rate of COVID-19 by 50 percent.
As of November 2, 2020, Zambia recorded 63 positive COVID-19 cases out of the 5,771 tests conducted in 24 hours