Of late, people from all walks of life have been finding it difficult to access basic medicines for coughs and diarrhoea and most health institutions have for a long time been operating on shoestring budgets. Basics like bandages, latex gloves and painkillers have been scarce in hospitals or if available, beyond the reach of many and this has been going on for too long.
The recent mushrooming of drug cartels has brought more harm than good to Zimbabweans.
The cartels have crippled the health sector thereby leaving health seekers facing death and suffering.
It is therefore, the duty of all Zimbabweans to help the Government in its efforts to fight the drug cartels.
It must be known from the onset that the fight against drug cartels is never an easy one. It is not a stroll in the park. It is a fight against entrenched corruption and greed.
At the end of the day, there is need to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age at a time the country is in the clutches of cartels that have besieged the health sector — and others that are not subject of this submission.
Our nation is at war, yes! War against far-reaching network of cartels and lazy public servants who have been in a marriage plucked from hell, not only to stifle the health sector in particular, but also derail President Mnangagwa health policies.
President Mnangagwa’s efforts must be commended and supported as he has been on a charm offensive, endeavouring to get back into the community of nations for help. This has also seen India partnering Zimbabwe in a major drug deals in which the latter has managed.
In recent weeks, there have been calls from the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, the recently appointed health ambassador; and then from Dr Obadiah Moyo, the Minister of Health and Child Care; over the manner in which the custodians of the nation’s drug warehouse have been accused of deliberately withholding large stocks of drugs at the expense of patients who have been made to feel the brunt of the “out-of-stock” narrative for too long.
NatPharm managers, for reasons best known to themselves, have been sitting on stockpiles of life-saving and pain-killing medicines at their Harare warehouse whereas hospitals and clinics have been operating with empty drug cupboards.
Reports of theft and leakages are too many and this prompted the First Lady to ask: “We have heard of leakage medicines; how did that happen? Why are there such leakages? Are you aware that people are suffering out there?
“Why is it that clinics are complaining that there is no medicine yet you have boxes piled here, what are the donors going to say, why are all these boxes stocked? I went to Mashonaland Central and found some pharmacies empty. The situation on the ground is untenable and I want to understand where medicines are going, is it theft . . .”
President Mnangagwa has made it clear in his two inauguration speeches that it is no longer business as usual for civil servants; people have to earn their day at work.
Government efforts on curbing cartels in the pharmaceutical sector, amid revelations that a team of Indian manufacturers will be arriving in the next few days to assess the working environment before setting up in-country warehouses must also be commendable as this move will help curb price hikes in the health sector.
In the absence of a law that empowers Government to control prices of pharmaceutical products in the country, bringing competition to the market was the remaining option.
Government said it will bring more Indian pharmaceutical companies in order to create competition so that prices of drugs will also go down as availability increases.