MINISTRY of Health permanent secretary in charge of administration Dr George Magwende says there is nothing strange about cooperatives supplying drugs to the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) if they qualify and have capacity.

In an interview, Dr Magwende said Zambian-owned cooperatives should be supported.

“What needs to be established is that ZAMMSA, the functions it has are to procure, store and distribute drugs. So, if it has to procure, it means it has to buy from eligible institutions. If a cooperative has what it takes in terms of qualifications, in terms of capacity, in terms of efficiency and effectiveness and also [if] the legal provisions permit it to supply ZAMMSA, you and I agree to say it is a no brainer that, that should be supported especially that we are looking at cooperatives that are owned by Zambians, we want to support our own. But all the prescriptions must be observed and I think that is what the President is bent on. Is it the first time a cooperative will be doing business? Remember ZAMMSA was enacted in November 2019 and it was only made effective last year,” said Dr Magwende.

“So, it is barely a year and it is not so strange. Imagine, you open a shop today, six months down the line I walk in your shop to buy whatever merchandise and I say ‘oh, it is the first time it is happening in the country where a PS enters this shop.’ I mean it is just six months old. So, many entities that will qualify to do business with ZAMMSA will do that, it is nothing strange. Cooperatives have been in existence since we got independence. I think it is now that we are just more less discovering the potential that is [in] cooperatives, there is nothing strange really.”