Heath Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says investigations into the theft of drugs at Medical Stores Limited (MSL) worth US $1,064,788 funded by the Global Fund have escalated.
And European Union (EU) Ambassador to Zambia Alessandro Mariani says good governance in the management of drugs as well as maintenance and funding strategies are important factors in health.
Speaking during a tour to review progress in the upgrade of Medical Stores Limited, Friday, Dr Chilufya announced that government’s investigation into the theft of drugs worth over a US $1 million at MSL had escalated.
He also assured the EU and other cooperating partners that government will be prudent and accountable on the utilization of resources.
“I want to assure you that, Zambia is going to forge stronger partnership with the European Union and we are investing heavily in governance, in leadership and accountability and we have put up policies that ensure that we do not have any leaks in our resources or any wastage. We want to assure the partners and we want to assure the European Union that we will be prudent and accountable on the utilization of resources. We have set up a ‘whistle-blower’ policy as part of our security measures here [and] further, we have escalated investigations into what happened with drugs in the previous allocation of the Global Fund, and I want to assure you that investigations have advanced. And anybody found wanting will face the law and then there will be no sacred cows,” Dr Chilufya announced.
He said that the partnership with the EU, who are also the funders of the Medical Stores’ expansion project, is already paying dividends.
“To fix the health systems in this country, we need to fix the [medical] supply chain [and] to fix the supply chain, we need to look at the whole spectrum beginning from the quantification, the procurement, the storage and the distribution until the last mouth. The partnership with the European Union in strengthening health systems is paying dividends and there are clear tangibles in this partnership. Medical Stores has been grappling with space [thereby] spending colossal amounts of money storing medicines in different warehouses. What this does is it increases our capacity to store medicines,” Dr Chilufya added.
Speaking at the same event, Ambassador Mariani noted that good governance in the management of drugs as well as maintenance and funding strategies are important factors in health.
“If I may say things, which are important is good management of drugs, maintenance and funding strategies and always to maintain a programme to enhance the capacity and the skills of staff. This is a project funded by the European Union with the clear objective in mind, which is to support the strengthening of the health systems in Zambia for the benefit of all the Zambian people. You will recall that in December last year, the European Union signed a grant of 4.8 million euros, which at today’s exchange rate is approximately K67 million with the Medical Stores Limited,” Ambassador Mariani said.
And the EU envoy added that once compiled, Medical Stores’ storage capacity will increase four times to the current one.
“What is important to understand is that, Zambia is going to increase by four its [medical storage] capacity and this means that the availability of medicine will not be hampered whatsoever by the logistics and warehouse abilities. And we hope that in this manner, the right to access of essential medicine, which is a right of each and every one in each and every country, will be fully available to all the Zambian people,” said Ambassador Mariani.