Sunday, July 14, 2024

Medicines should be affordable and closer to the people-Masebo

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Minister of Health Sylvia T. Masebo has said good, quality, safe and effective medicines should be affordable and closer to the people.

Ms. Masebo said taking medicine closer to the people is in line with the National Drug Policy and the National Health Strategic Plan of 2022-2026.

Speaking at the first Zambia-European Union Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Forum in Lusaka on Wednesday, Ms. Masebo said the Government has since tripled the drug budget from under 1.4 Billion Kwacha in 2021 to 4.6 Billion Kwacha in 2023.

President Hakainde Hichilema officially opened the first-ever Zambia-European Union Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Forum in Lusaka.

“This forum was born from your vision for the pharmaceutical industry in Zambia. Your Government through the Ministry of Health remains committed to the provision of equitable access for all Zambians to good, quality, safe, and effective medicines. These should be affordable and as close to the Community as possible in line with the National Drug Policy and the National Health Strategic Plan of 2022-2026.In demonstrating this commitment, your Government has more than tripled the drug budget from under 1.4 Billion Kwacha in 2021 to 4.6 Billion Kwacha in 2023. This is in addition to the Government embarking on a journey to dismantle the long standing drug debt of 2.2 Billion Kwacha through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. We believe this is crucial in order to unlock the supply of medicines and medical supplies,” Ms. Masebo said.

She said the Ministry of Health has identified the availability of essential medicines and medical supplies as one of the key pillars to catalyze and facilitate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.

“Your Excellency, you have repeatedly called for more efforts to create an enabling environment to grow the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Zambia. This is due to your belief that that is cardinal in building resilience in the essential medicines and medical supply chain. I sincerely thank you for your commitment. The Ministry of Health has identified the availability of essential medicines and medical supplies as one of the key pillars to catalyze and facilitate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage. Your Excellency during the Zambia–EU Economic Forum in May of 2022, which you successfully graced, you directed us to launch the Zambia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Initiative (ZPMI). To ensure that the initiative responds to all matters connected to strengthening pharmaceutical manufacturing in our country, four Technical Working Groups have since been formed. These are: Legal and Policy. Research, Development and Technology transfer. Investment Promotion and Access to Finance. Regulation and Quality Assurance,” she stated.

Ms. Masebo highlighted the set objectives leading to commodity security of essential medicines and medical supplies.

“The Zambia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Initiative (ZPMI) has now given rise to this important forum to facilitate the interface between international pharmaceuticals and the local pharmaceutical industry. This, we believe will make us realise or attain the following objectives: To inform participants of the detailed design of the Zambia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Initiative (ZPMI) investment promotion and dimensions. Begin the establishment and development of a multi annual Pharma Industry strategy with a cost implementation plan. Identify areas of interest for local manufacturing of medicines and other health commodities. Outline potential for partnerships for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and attract EU pharma industry to invest in Zambia. Enable networks and exchanges between Zambia and European Union pharma companies and trigger potential future concrete business transactions,” Ms. Masebo said.

“It is envisioned that the implementation of the aforementioned objectives, will lead to commodity security of essential medicines and medical supplies. This will further restore confidence in our quest to provide quality, cost-effective health services as close to the people as possible. In addition, growing the pharmaceutical industry will also have a multiplier effect on other sectors such as banking services, transport, manufacturing, distribution and logistics and others. Your Excellency, allow me to conclude my remarks by thanking you again for gracing this event. Be rest assured of the Ministry of Health continued commitment to your vision of seeing Zambia self-sufficient in drugs manufacturing and continued partnership with the European Union and other partners,” the Chongwe Member of Parliament concluded.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellence is being achieved through professional leadership and meticolous planning.
    Well done HH & Government of Zambia

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