Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya says government has invested in robust systems to increase the visibility of stock at the front line and establish multi-sectoral teams to conduct sport checks at various levels of the supply chain.

Responding to a question from Kafue UPND member of Parliament Mirriam Chonya who wanted to know if government had adequate capacity to help account for drugs and protect medical supplies from theft as reported by News Diggers in the Tuesday edition, Dr Chilufya said the ministry had put in place integrity committees at its various points of delivery to ensure utmost standards of conduct.

“While I may not comment on the report in the News Diggers of what happened at Kafue hospital, as this is subject to investigations, I would like to confirm the government has invested in robust health systems and one of the fundamental pillars is just the health supply chain systems. So we have a robust system that starts with proper forecasting and quantification, proper procurement and efficient procurement, storage and distribution. We have even invested in electronic programmes in order to manage our supply chain.,” Dr Chiufya said.

“To increase our visibility of the stock at the front line, we’ve also put in multi-sectoral teams that ensure sport checks at various levels of the supply chain to ensure that there are no leakages. We have also put in place integrity committees at our various points of delivery to ensure that we hold the utmost standards of conduct in the supply chains. As you heard recently, medical stores limited I did launch the whistle blower policy and another code of conduct policy document at Medical Stores, all this is meant to ensure security for public health commodities. So I would like to assure you that yes we have increased volumes of drugs and yes we invested in better systems to ensure commodity security in the supply systems.”

And responding to a question from Chiengi FDD member of parliament Given Katuta who wanted how the expired drugs that Zambia had been given were going to be accounted for, Dr Chilufya said the treasury was going to release money.

“Mr Speaker, when drugs expire they have to be disposed off and these are resources that we have to get through the treasury supporting the Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority in order for them to dispose off these drugs in a manner that does not put the public at any risk. So it is our expense, when drugs expire, we have to expose them off in a manner that protects the public. So the simple answer is that it’s our expense,” said Dr Chilufya.