‘Drugs life span too short’
30 September 2016
PARLIAMENTARIANS in the Health and Child Care committee have vowed to probe why the Ministry of Health and Child Care was disbursing drugs with a short shelf life into hospitals.
This comes after Bulawayo city health deputy director Dr Edwin Sibanda told the legislators that they were receiving drugs that were almost expiring with the bulk of these expiring before being used.
The report comes at a time when the country’s major hospitals are facing acute drug shortages that have resulted in Harare Central Hospital suspending elective surgeries due to the shortage.
“The drug procurement is done centrally and by the time we receive most of the drugs, they will be about to expire. If you go in our stores, you will notice piles of expired drugs and this is not because we are had no capacity or there was no demand for the medicines.
“If you can help us find out why we are receiving drugs that have short shelf life, this could help us in the management of our hospitals,” he appealed to the lawmakers during a tour of the Thorngroove hospital on Monday.
Gutu South MP, Dr Paul Chimedza who was leading the lawmaker’s delegation that toured the Bulawayo hospital said this was a serious issue they were going to take up.
“Why is this happening? We really need to probe who is behind this and why the Ministry of Health and Child Care has allowed drugs with a short shelf life to be disbursed into hospitals.
“This means the country could be losing a lot of money as the drugs end up in the bin.”
Dr Chimedza said they will also find out if these drugs are not being donated to the country by health partners adding that it should also be ensured that the country does accept donations with a short shelf life.
The lawmakers also promised to lobby for increased health funding during their budget retreat adding that it was a time bomb that the country continued to heavily rely on donor funding for its health sector.
“We really need to see that funding is increased and that whatever is allocated towards the sector is disbursed on time so that public hospitals are able to function well.
“We can’t continue to rely on donors for such a critical sector as a country. This is why we are also ways facing drug crisis in our hospitals because of donor dependency. How do you budget or plan on a donation, what if the donor decides not to give you anymore.
“So we hope Treasury will take this as a serious matter because as we have toured the country’s hospitals, we have noted how they are struggling to function due to lack of funding, Health and Child Care parliamentary portfolio committee chair, Dr Ruth Labode said.