Thursday, June 13, 2024

Critical Shortage of drugs in hospitals and Clinics, Who Will Pay for the Lives Lost?


By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

The fact is no longer in contest.

There is an established critical shortage of medicines and medical supplies in hospitals, Clinics and health centres in Zambia in the last six months.

The number of loss of lives attributed directly to this sad development is yet to be made public. This is because, during this period, the Ministry of Health has not bought any medicines, has refused to pay previous suppliers, has abolished the Procurement Unit and is in the process of picking “new” suppliers.

The portfolio Minister, Hon Sylvia Masebo proceeded to abolish all boards and management of sub-sector entities involved in the regulatory and distribution of drugs.

Further it is extremely surprising to hear Hon. Masebo, in her Ministerial Statement in Parliament, express ignorant shock that Hospitals have not taken the initiative to buy medicines and medical supplies using administrative and operational grants that the Ministry has disbursed!

She even dares to accuse hospital administrators of having masters elsewhere ( PF) other than the current Government!
This statement alone is a scandal on its own!

Does she expect Hospitals to utilise administrative and operational funds, to buy medicines? Does she expect Administrators to take quotations from the streets and buy medicines from there? Does she know how public funds are utilized? Has she read the Auditor General’s Reports? Is her request for such an initiative even legal in Zambia?

Her last stay at a Ministry ( Ministry of Tourism) in 2012 ended in tears as she was arrested and arraigned before the court of law for abuse of office and interfering in the procurement process as a Minister…guess nothing has changed in her outlook.

Has she heard of ZAMRA?

The Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority is the Statutory Body established under an Act of Parliament; the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No. 3 of 2013 to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, storage distribution, supply, sale and use of medicines and allied substances.

Has the Minister heard about Medical Stores Limited (MSL) now transformed as the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA), an autonomous government agency established under the companies act with the express objective of furnishing to the nation good quality drugs and various medical equipment and supplies?

Over the years, the Ministry of Health, its development and cooperating assistance partners have invested substantial amounts of money in the public-sector drug procurement and distribution system. Zambia has a well-functioning supply chain for essential medicines.

Zambia has a three-tier system with storage of medicines and medical supplies at each level (Storage at National Distribution Center, District Health Office and Health Facility).

Government constructed regional hubs in line with Government’s decentralization policy, across the country.

By criminalizing all companies that supply medicines and medical supplies, by firing all Permanent Secretaries, by dissolving all boards at ZAMMSA and ZAMRA, and by abolishing the procurement unit, Masebo is trying to re-invent the wheel and not cleaning up.

What Masebo and her technical staff are currently doing is to dismantle a heavily invested in, well-established and well-functioning system built over the years.

Clearly, this wayward gamble by Masebo has cost many dear lives as a result of lack of medicines at hospitals, clinics and health centres in the last six months.

Who will pay for the loss of these lives?

Isn’t life sacred with the New Dawn Government?


  1. Emmanuel makes a lot of sense, but he writes too much like ihule. I am sure he shouts and fights alot with his wife.

  2. I hope she isn’t planning to procure more Beijing Jeeps to give the departed dignified send offs. She’s just quarrelsome. Isn’t she that presided over the dissolution of the Central Board of Health which exposed funds to abuse? That’s how donor funds were exposed to gross abuse

  3. Bally made a mistake to appoint this woman as Health minister. In Icibemba they say üwakalema takaleka” in lose translation means bad habits die hard. Masebo has contributed to Bally’s low rating among the electorate. In health sector you don’t just get rid of something without replacing with something better because needs and demand for services is continuous. The void created has cost people’s lives, and the minister appears aloof to reality. Bally promised world class health deliveries whilst in opposition but instead village class standards are being delivered. BMW at it again!!

  4. PF must , there is a shortage because the minister of cleaning the rot of Honeybee which u ka Mwamba is involved. So the entire PF must pay

  5. At Tikki, no not some responsibilities, it’s all the responsibility goes to PF. All the minister is doing is clearing all the totem drugs supplied by PF in all hospitals. Remember they supplied upto 6months of these expired drugs and it wasn’t jst Panado. You can’t mix new stock of legitimate medicine with fake honeybee Chinese plastics. Hence the sought of shortage in reality it’s not a shortage but a clean up before genuine suppliers deliver new stock .

  6. Infact the entire supply of medicines was done by pf stooges in which most pf cadres benefitted including mwamba himself. And what’s happening now is that GRZ is terminarr terminating contracts with these fake companies, hence pf cadres are fighting back thru media propanda. Otherwise it’s 100% al pf fault.

  7. People can we have something ( medicine in ) in hospitals for our beloved brothers and sisters while you are sorting out the issue. The lives being lost at the moment are not reversible. Remember tomorrow it will be your relative who will find himself or herself in this mess.

  8. We want medicines in all health institutions not passing the back. Wake up and start delivering not unnecessary politicking

  9. The critical issue is to restructure OBJECTIVES OF THE SCHEME in NIMA and make it a fund with a proper Investments Policy funding the government agency charged with drag management Then all those vendors and pharm register with procurement agency as normal to tender and supply medicines for hospitals and institutions The disruption in medical stores is what should be worked out to ensure security of supply in pharma and medicals There is a disconnect and opportunity with those cards near pharm in NIMA procument methods net to major hospitals The fund should not be procument

  10. With Bally and UPND praise singers anything breathing and not PF qualify to be appointed as a minister. As soon as medicine and medical supplies business is aligned with their business, this uncaring lose of life will be a thing of the past.

  11. It’s PF cadres that supplied fake drugs into all hospitals and now what GRZ is doing is to throw away this rubbish. Zambians would still be died anyway the only difference is that with the fake drugs you would ve died at home cos the doctor wud ve lied that they gave u medicine when infact u were given HoneyBee poison.

  12. Or the ministry throws away all the honeybee poison and the shelves remain empty awaiting real medicine? So choose which way to die Zambians. In the second case u ll die on the hospital bed abs GRZ will record and be held responsible. But in the first case, know one ll know what killed you, as u swolled a time poison that slowly ate u inside first. This is how PF wanted to kill half of Zambian population and such medicines were sent to mostly UPND/Other party strong holds.

  13. We told you these upnd chaps are clueless…You thought it was a joke… Next year no maize… Foolishly under5 government are exporting maize…so kaya.

  14. Its this clown Emmanuel Mwamba he has too time to write now…hashe highlighted how MOH was plagued with corruption under his PF Gov’t.

  15. Stop useless praise singing. PF is gone. People are dying. UPND must work. So you want people to continue dying because PF blah blah blah … Take charge.

  16. There has always been shortages of drugs in Zambian hospitals. It is not a new problem. The only drugs tha tare available are those given to us by the United States for HIV and TB. When the money is available, 10% may go into buying drugs and the rest is pocketed by the crooks in the ministry of health. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, cleaners etc steal medicines and treat relatives and friends for free. Even when medicines are available, nurses in clinics will say, ‘Go and buy.’

  17. It seems like now we gonna be divided again the same way were during PF but this time around favor goes to UPND. It’s simple I will side with the UPND and I will tell you why. The UPND president has extended an olive branch to pf but what did he get in return? A middle finger! Therefore, from now on if u are pf my friend it’s game on I will knock u out. The law is on my side now – have had enough of your arrogance u street kids.

  18. ”What Masebo and her technical staff are currently doing is to dismantle a heavily invested in, well-established and well-functioning system built over the years.” You are a joker you Former, yes Former Ambassador, you are even no longer an Ambassador. If the system as you call it is rotten, then it is good that it has been disbanded. What are you talking about. What about the lives that were lost because of siphoning and misuse of public resources which were meant to supply medicines in hospitals, when you were busy dozing in Joburg. Grow up also. Ambassador is not a title which you should carry as if it is a Doctorate Degree, grow up.


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