MEDICAL for Quality Healthcare in Zambia executive director Dr Quince Mwabu says people are taking advantage of the pandemic by selling drugs which people believe help manage COVID-19 symptoms at a high price.

In an interview, Dr Mwabu said some of the medicines were unnecessary.

“It’s a responsibility of the Ministry of Health and its stakeholders to engage the community because some of these medicines are unnecessary for those certain conditions or some of the symptoms that come from COVID-19. Because a lot of people have taken advantage of the situation and a lot of stakeholders and the Ministry of Health are quiet. So the general public gets what they hear from those who are selling those medicines in the market. So if they say that these symptoms of COVID-19 you use vitamin C, use Azithromycin, use amoxicillin, people go for it. So this is the right time, we need to be engaging the community to prevent some of these things from happening and for them to save money. Because some medicines which they take, which they buy for some symptoms that come from COVID-19, they are unnecessary,” he said.

Dr Mwabu said there was need to invest a lot in health promotion.

“So it’s very important for the general public to go to the clinic so that they can be advised. And the other thing, this is the reason why I was saying that we need to invest much in health promotion. We haven’t been proactive as a country in health promotion, only few stakeholders are in health promotion like MAZ and other stakeholders and the Ministry of Health, although it’s not much because they haven’t been active as much. So the Ministry of Health cannot do it alone. We need to work together as a country. So we need to invest much in health promotion and see how we can engage the community. Because if we engage the community, we tell them the truth on how they should be prevented, avoiding certain things, definitely they won’t be wasting money because of certain things that are not important,” said Dr Mwabu.

“So, they should understand that some certain things are not important, what is important is that if they get sick, they need to go to the clinic. So that they can be advised as soon as possible because these people who are selling medications have taken advantage of the situation and this is the reason why we’ve got people who are selling medicines at a high price. Because they want to take advantage of the situation and the Ministry of Health are quiet and other stakeholders are quiet. So people will be wasting money, we need to engage the community that’s the most important thing. Once we engage the community, the community do understand and definitely, they are going to prevent some of these things and you know the prices of these things are going to be reduced.”