The parliamentary Social Services Committee has advised the government to form a special agency for distributing drugs, devices and reagents due to failure of Medical Stores Department (MSD) to do the job efficiently.
Reading committee recommendations for the Health and Social Welfare ministry 2012/13 budget estimates in Parliament yesterday, committee member Kebwe Stephen Kebwe said that experience shows that the MSD has failed to service health centres effectively.
According to him, MSD supplies rarely reach health centres on time and on top of that there are claims that some dishonest officials of the department are selling drugs to private pharmacies, resulting in shortage of medicines in public health centres.
Kebwe further noted that latest audit reports showed that many drugs and reagents expired on MSD warehouses before they were supplied to public hospitals in different parts of the country.
Citing an example, he said in April this year the MSD sold expired cotton wool swabs to Muhimbili National Hospital. “The committee has discovered that negligence in procurement of medical devices highly contributed to the situation,” Kebwe said.
The House Committee recommended that the Department should only be left with the responsibility of procurement and preservation of drugs, medical devices and reagents.
Meanwhile, Kebwe said the House team advised the government to facilitate the MSD to acquired bonded warehouses in order to protect quality of drugs, medical devices and reagents.
The committee also advised the government to improve the entire system of drug storage, including identifying expiry dates when drugs are stored in MSD warehouses.
Kebwe said the government should review the structure of MSD order to easy provision of services.
Presenting views of the opposition on the budget, special seat MP Conchester Rwamlaza called for appropriate actions against those behind delays in the drug distribution chain linking public health centres.
She said it was unacceptable to let drugs expire in warehouses while people in need of them were dying for lack of medicine in public health centres and hospitals.