Keembe UPND member of parliament Princess Kasune has appealed to government, through the Ministry of Health, to enact the Statutory Instrument (SI) which was signed for Medical Stores Limited to be given the mandate to purchase drugs.

And Kasune has expressed sadness at the low number of health personnel at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where those working in radiology were also working as nurses on voluntary basis.

Kasune said this on Wednesday as she seconded the report of the parliamentary Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for the first session of the 12th National Assembly laid on the table of the House on June 14, 2019.

“Your committee is really urging the government to ensure that the SI which was signed for the Medical Stores should be the one to buy drugs is enacted, because to this day, the drugs are still being bought by the Ministry of Health which your committee actually disagrees with. And I want to urge the Ministry of Health to ensure that drugs are purchased by Medical Stores Limited,” Kasune said.

Kasune also expressed sadness at the low number of health personnel at the UTH.

“It is sad to note that the Ministry of Health continues to lag behind in terms of funding to the main institutions. For example, when your committee visited UTH, it was privy to the information that the grants are not coming on time. The last grant which they got for K20, 000 was given to them in November last year. And this is the biggest institution in Zambia and if they are not receiving their grants on time, how do we expect to reach the universal access that we as a country have assigned ourselves that every Zambian can have better health care. Not only did we see this discrepancy Mr Speaker, the same happened at Chipata level one hospital where also your committee was informed that K1,500 was given to the and these funds only came whenever the ministry thought that they needed money. Also Mr Speaker, there is inadequate staff in our health facilities,” she said.

“You find that at UTH sometimes, some of the staff who are working as nurses are working in the radiology department but are working as nurses on voluntary basis. How can we allow such a thing to happen as a country where some workers are not paid but are there on voluntary basis. This is why your committee ask that the government expedite the funding to the Ministry of Health.”

And Kasune appealed to government to be consistent in funding to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services to benefit the intended people.

“This committee has not been funded since last year in the programme of social cash transfer under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. If we are serious about empowering our elderly in society, I think the committee feels that it is important that the funding to the ministry is done on a yearly basis and also that it reaches the intended people. It is in this view that the committee would like to encourage the government to continued funding the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. And the other thing that came out when we visited the Matero Home for the elderly, it is the reality that they are living in. Their buildings are dilapidated and most of them are actually mixed with the elderly as well as those who have mental issues. Mr Speaker your committee is concerned that the mixing of elderly persons together with those with mental challenges is not a good arrangement for our country,” said Kasune.