Kasonde dispels drugs shortage rumours


HEALTH Minister Joseph Kasonde says there is no looming shortage of essential drugs in Zambia and that donors have not withheld any funds meant for the health sector.

He was reacting to Monday’s Post newspaper report  that donors were withholding more than 30 million Euros meant for the health sector following the Government’s refusal to shift the procurement function from the Ministry of Health to Medical Stores Limited.

But Dr Kasonde dismissed the reports, sayings he had been having meetings with the donors and nothing of the sort had been discussed.

“I can safely assure the nation that the conditions prevailing do not allow for a shortage. The conditions I mean are that we have the money and a procurement system which does require to be improved upon,” Dr Kasonde said.

He said the ministry’s discussion with the donors had been on the same subject and how best Government could improve upon its purchasing system.

Dr Kasonde said his meetings with the donors was a continuous process which did not imply that the nation had a shortage of essential drugs.

“It implies that we need to build on the present system. Personally, I think this is a very important discussion and we are going to have to come to a conclusion on that,” he said.

In an interview with Daily Nation, Dr Kasonde assured that there would be no drug shortage because the current stock levels did not allow for such.

“I was in Muchinga Province on Friday for the graduation of nurses and I spent the day with the provincial medical officer and I asked him if they had a shortage. He said they did not have any shortage,

“ To me that is the answer which I can give from my personal experience as to the exact figure I have to go to the office to get my colleagues (experts) to analyse the breakdown of the current stock level,” Dr Kasonde said.