ICT platform stalls MSD drugs deal

26Aug 2018
James Kandoya
Guardian On Sunday
ICT platform stalls MSD drugs deal
  • EFFICIENCY- The ICT platform will ensure easy access of drugs to SADC member states while also improving transparency in the procurement process

TANZANIA may not commence the supply of medicine and medical equipment in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region anytime soon until it harmonises the information and communication technology (ICT) platform.

MSD Director General Laurean Bwanakunu.

The move will ensure easy access of drugs to member states while improving transparency in procurement of drugs and their distribution.

Last year, SADC member states appointed Tanzania Medical Stores Department as the sole distributor of all essential drugs in its 15 member states.

MSD Director General Laurean Bwanakunu told the Guardian yesterday in a telephone interview that the process to harmonise the ICT platform may take a year to complete.

“The consultant appointed by the SADC member states is working hard to complete harmonisation of the ICT platform,” he said.

He said the ICT process would require each country to rely heavily on the programme when making drug orders in the country.

“It is not easy to trade with fifteen countries without having a proper and reliable ICT platform due to the differences in technology and language in the member states,” he said.

The MSD director general said the department will be able to centralise all processes regarding ordering and procurement of drugs and medical supplies in SADC member states.

He clarified that despite similarities in national medicines policies (NMPs) and public procurement legislation, the SADC members states have different levels of pharmaceutical sector development and pharmaceutical service delivery.

He said upon completion of the ICT harmonisation process, MSD will sign contracts with all member states and commence its work.

Last year, at the launch of a drug factory in Mwanza, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu revealed that SADC had appointed Tanzania’s MSD as the sole distributor of all essential drugs in fifteen member states.

This, she said, was a good gesture for local drug manufacturers and investors to invest more in drugs and medical supplies to benefit from the deal.

The SADC member states are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe