PF media director Antonio Mwanza has applauded News Diggers for being consistent with investigative journalism, saying the newspaper’s works will rescue Zambia by exposing the rot in government institutions.
And Mwanza says the continued closure of the Ministry of Health procurement department may have contributed to ZAMMSA’s decision to release a consignment of Honeybee drugs which had been quarantined for failing quality assurance test.
In an interview, Tuesday, Mwanza said Zambians needed to applaud Diggers.
“As Zambians, we need to applaud News Diggers. The investigative journalism that News Diggers as an institution has continued to push is what will rescue Zambia in terms of knowing exactly the rot that is going on in the government. News Diggers deserves the support of all Zambians because it is these revelations that have made the Zambian people to be aware of the rot that is going on in the government and also to stop the potential matter of consumers consuming these drugs,” Mwanza said.
And Mwanza said it was possible that staff at ZAMMSA might have distributed the defective drugs as a result of the continued closure of the procurement department which had led to a shortage of drugs in many health facilities.
“We remember very well the PS in the Ministry of Health Professor Kasonka did allude to the fact that the continuation of the ban by this government to stop the procurement of essential drugs by the continued closure of the procurement department is now affecting the whole nation. The procurement department at the Ministry of Health has been closed in what has been purported to be a bid to audit what has been going on at the Ministry of Health in terms of procurement and supply,” he said.
“This continued closure of the procurement department has led to a critical shortage of essential drugs in many health facilities. There is a possibility that staff at ZAMMSA, looking at the fact that there is a critical shortage of medicine, they were left with no choice. There is a possibility that they were left with no choice and decided to offload those defective drugs. It is clear that the ministry is under extreme pressure to provide drugs following the closure of the procurement department.”
Mwanza called on President Hakainde Hichililema to quickly reopen the procurement department at the Ministry of Health.
“We want to call upon His Excellency President Hakainde Sammy Hichilema to quickly rescind the decision to continue keeping the procurement department at the Ministry of Health closed. It has serious negative repercussions on the lives of the people as we have already started witnessing a critical shortage of drugs in hospitals. The President must quickly open the procurement department at the Ministry of Health so that the ministry can be allowed to purchase the drugs that are needed to save lives,” he said.
And Mwanza wondered why government took so long to audit one department of a ministry.
“We don’t believe that six months after taking over the government, the administration has failed to complete their audit at the Ministry of Health. We do not believe that it can take more than six months for them to come up with other streamlining measures for procurement and supply of drugs. We believe that half a year is too long a period for the government to fail to do the audit for a single department. I think this boarder on recklessness, it boarders on negligence, it boarders on incompetence on the part of the administration,” said Mwanza.
“If it takes this administration more than six months to audit one department of a ministry, then how long will it take to audit all departments of all the ministries? The lives of our people are at risk, we have a critical shortage of medicine, we are now exposing our people to consumption of rotten drugs.”