ZAMBIA has enough essential medicine to last more than six months contrary to speculation that there will be a medicine crisis starting next month, Health Deputy Minister Chitalu Chilufya has said.
And Dr Chilufya has charged that all the health centres are safe, adding that there would be no shortage of drugs at any health centre or hospital.
“I want to assure the nation that there is no shortage of essential drugs in the country. There is no break in the supply chain of essential drugs by the suppliers. There is no need for Zambians to panic,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said in an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday that Government had enough stocks for essential medicines which would last for more than six months.
Dr chilufya was reacting to reports in a private newspaper that the country was facing a critical shortage of essencial drugs in all hospitals becouse the Government had failed to pay medicine suppliers US$42million.
the report quoted a letter allegedly written by Medical Stores Limited managing director Dr Boniface Funda Funda warning the Ministry of Health to prepare for a medical crisis.
But, an accessibility assessment of essential drugs indicated that the ministry had more than enough stocks to last for the next six months.
“In 2014, as part of the strategic plan, Government signed two framework contracts with international and local suppliers of essential drugs,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said the contracts did not provide for any interruption of essential drugs supply.
He said the two-year contracts with the suppliers assured Government of availability and continuous supply of essential drugs.
Dr Chilufya said the mode of contract did not allow the suppliers to stop supplying the nation with essential drugs.
And Dr Chilufya said the Ministry of health was constantly engaging the Ministry of Finance and that his ministry was not aware of US$42 million debt claim as reported in the press.
“The issue of debt is constantly being managed by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said in 2014 Government purchased K228 billion worth of Anti-Retroviral drugs.
He said in 2014 over 400, 000 units of health sector kits were purchased and part of it had already been distributed to all the health centres across the country.
“In addition to that Government through the Ministry of Health purchased more than 90, 000 units of health centre kits for 2016 and 2017,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said the current stock levels of ARVs were greater than six months, adding that there was no need for the country to panic.
“The Ministry of Health has continued cooperating with the suppliers under the National Supply Strategy and I can assure the nation that there is no shortage of essential drugs in the country,” Dr Chilufya said.