Drugs shortage artificial, says Kasonde


MINISTER of Health Joseph Kasonde says the shortage of drugs at some public health facilities is artificial and has been created by mismanagement in distribution.
Dr Kasonde said in an interview that an investigation instituted to ascertain the cause of the recent reported shortage of drugs revealed that figures show that there is an improvement in drug distribution.
“At the same time that we have been experiencing shortages of drugs in some health facilities in Lusaka, the same drugs are found at Medical Stores of Zambia,” Dr Kasonde said.
He said investigations on the reported shortage of drugs in Lusaka revealed that medical personnel are prescribing medicines that are available at private clinics.
Dr Kasonde assured people that the distribution of drugs will be more efficient after the actions that his ministry has taken.
“We expect that the supply of drugs will be back to about 30 percent because of the measures that have been instituted by the ministry to address the shortage of drugs,” he said.
Dr Kasonde, however, said that management of the supply of drugs still remains an issue that needs to be looked at even more seriously.
Recently, President Lungu directed Dr Kasonde to institute investigations on the reported shortage of drugs in some health facilities in Lusaka.
And Dr Kasonde says no one has complained about shortage of drugs but that the challenge is access.
“The key to that is no-one is complaining that there are no drugs in the country but the problem is the lack of access because Government has made it clear that it would pump a lot of money into the sector,” he said
He was speaking in Lusaka on Wednesday when he officiated at an awards-giving ceremony for Cola Life Zambia Health Innovation.
The United Kingdom (UK)-based charity run by Simon and Jane Berry was awarded US$370,000 for its pioneering work to bring affordable diarrhoea treatment  called Kit Yamoyo – ‘kit to life’ to remote rural areas using the supply and distribution and networks normally used to transport soft drinks and other essential products such as sugar and cooking oil.
Dr Kasonde said he is excited by this innovation of bringing the anti-diarrhoea closer to the rural communities because, normally, access is usually the biggest challenge of his ministry and is very close to his heart.
“Innovation is the song of this period that is why this man and lady is the greatest gift for me last Christmas, this Christmas and next Christmas,” Dr Kasonde said
The anti-diarrhoea kit made up of  oral rehydration salts (ORS) and Zinc is produced in 200ml sachets as opposed to the one litre sachet that were produced , which resulted in wastage as not of all of it would be consumed in a day by a child.

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