GOVERNMENT has embarked on strengthening the sealing system aimed at curbing the theft of essential drugs, examination and surgical gloves in public health institutions.
Deputy director of pharmaceutical services Chikuta Mbewe said in an interview that Government will take punitive measures against health workers found in possession of such commodities.
Mr Mbewe said the Ministry of Health has received reports of private institutions selling drugs and gloves which are meant for public institutions.
â€œThese are not new reports but it is disheartening to note that people deprive patients by making them buy drugs which are given out for free. It is very easy to identify these commodities and very soon Government will conduct a robust check in these institutions and ensure that culprits are brought to book,â€ Mr Mbewe said.
â€œThere are certain items which have a serious sensitivity on the market, they tend to attract a lot of money in such a way that there could be people within our institution who would want to sell the same products to the private markets. Examples are examination and surgical gloves and insulin for diabetes, these are medical supplies which are meant to be free but they end up in private hands at the markets,â€ he added.
Mr Mbewe has since called on expectant mothers to report cases of public institutions demandingÂ Â them to produce gloves during delivery.
â€œThe gloves are now free and people should not be cheated that they should buy or produce them when they are in labour.Â Even though there could be stock challenges especially with the rise in demand, there are measures put in place to meet the demand,â€ he said.
He said surgical gloves protect expectant mothers and the health personnel from infections during delivery.
â€œYou cannot afford not to have them in an institution and Government has a policy to make them available for free. I know in the past mothers used to carry them when in labour but itâ€™s no longer the case,â€ he said.