THE continued shortage of essential drugs in health institutions across the country should be a source of concern to Government, National Restoration Party acting national secretary Mabvuto Mwanza has said.
Mr. Mwanza said his party was concerned at the rate at which some health personnel throughout the county from major hospitals and clinics were sending patents to buy drugs from private drug stores.
He said Government should address the matter with the urgency it deserved because the prescriptions given to clients had made health service delivery expensive and inaccessible.
“People are dying every day due partly to the shortage of drugs in hospitals and health centres across the country. The matter requires urgent attention. Most patients do not have the capacity to buy drugs. The current economic hardships have taken a heavy toll on the unemployed masses,” Mr. Mwanza said.
He said it was strange that despite the Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde giving directives on the management of drugs in the country to end the shortage, the trend had continued.
Mr Mwanza attributed the difficulties in health institutions being faced to failure by Government to do a proper auditing of drugs required and distributed in various centres.
“It is like government has not shown any commitment to conducting a full and transparent audit on drug procurement, storage and distribution.
This has led to a flourishing of back-door trade in drugs meant for Government hospitals at the expense of innocent lives and the hard work of taxpayers,” he said.
Mr. Mwanza said NAREP was of the view that Government should take certain measures to address the problem by ensuring that they improved on the monitoring the mechanism to stop the pilferage of drugs which in most cases ends up in private drug stores.
“As NAREP, we demand Government improves on monitoring of the storage and distribution of drugs meant for hospitals and health centres in order to avoid shortages,” he said.
Mr. Mwanza also challenged the regulatory body to be more proactive in checking up the stocking of drugs.
“The regulatory authority must ensure that all pharmacies are properly licensed. Those operating without licenses must be held accountable to ensure that no further lives are endangered,” said Mr. Mwanza.