In a bid to control loss of medical drugs in hospitals and other health centres, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has come up with a new strategy that requires medical facilities to provide consumption reports of availed drug stock at least six months before stock clearing.
Health and Social Welfare Deputy minister Dr Seif Seleman Rashid, made the announcement yesterday during his official tour of the Gairo Health Centre.
Dr Rashid said that there has been increasing loss of drugs and medical devices in public hospitals and dispensaries but it has, until now, been difficult to identify the culprits causing the government tremendous losses.
Senior Medical Doctor for the Gairo Health Centre, Dr George Mkoba said that the facility was facing a number of challenges that are hampering their practice. He named these to include shortage of the medical devices in question, beds, mattresses and modern well equipped theaters.
Gairo’s Member of Parliament, Ahmed Shabiby, asked the government to improve medical service accountability and database management. He observed that these services were as paramount as the very medication and specialist services offered.
“It benefits not only the ‘wananchi’ but also Members of Parliament who use Dodoma- Morogoro road...” he observed.
Kilosa District Commissioner Khanifa Karamagi said that the residents, especially expectant women, the elderly and children, stood to suffer the most should no measures be taken. It is hoped that the new initiative will force the medical and health providers to stop the ongoing theft of medical devices and medicines.
In April earlier this year, the Medical Stores Department (MSD) told the Parliamentary Parastatal Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) that, increased demand for drugs and other supplies has caused some serious shortages in the public hospitals.
MSD Director General Joseph Mgaya outlined the actual monetary value of drugs demanded in the country’s health facilities currently as 150bn/-. He expressed his surprise at the budget’s allocation of a mere 78bn/- (about 50 percent) for the 20111/12 financial year.
He said drugs and equipment procurement estimates for the 2012/13 financial year is 198bn/- He did concede that currently the nation is meeting up to 80 percent of the drug demand.
Presenting the department’s performance report in parliament yesterday, Mgaya said the nation is dependent on imported medicine and health equipment and urged that we follow the example of our neighboring countries like Uganda.
“…Uganda has established a very sound system which has helped attract investors into the pharmaceutical industry and they are now assured of availability of high quality drugs…”
He noted that this domestic production has multiple benefits including raising government revenue in taxes and creating job opportunities.
POAC has advised the Medical Stores Department (MSD) management to prepare proposals to co-manufacture medicine in the country and reduce dependence. POAC’s chairman, Kabwe Zitto, called on the government to ensure the placement of polices favorable to domestic pharmaceutical companies to ensure the use of only quality and standard drugs and health equipment.