Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
GOVERNMENT is calling for partnerships between local and foreign investors to set up generic drug manufacturing plants to improve drugs availability and create jobs.
Further, Government believes such investments will help generate foreign currency from the sale of generic drugs across the region.
This was said by Mr Godfrey Chanakira, the Permanent Secretary in Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s office, during the public health supply chain conference and exhibition in Harare on Tuesday.
“The Government of Zimbabwe advocates for improved availability of healthcare consumables and sustainable pricing structures of drugs,” said Mr Chanakira.
“The TSP (Transitional Stabilisation Programme) acknowledges the technical and financial requirements in the sector, hence its call for new partnerships between domestic and foreign investors for setting up generic drug manufacturing plants in Zimbabwe in the course of this year.
“The joint venture partnerships envisaged are expected to benefit the country through technology transfer, among others.”
He said such an approach results in value chain development, which comes with the creation of jobs for locals as well as generation of foreign currency through regional exports.
“In this regard, there are tremendous opportunities for the private sector to complement and partner the public sector towards the goal of achieving substantial improvements in drugs procurement efficiency and commodity availability.
“Although the private sector is often held up as a benchmark for efficiency for the public sector, this may be unfair as it ignores the unique challenges and constraints that public sector procuring entities often face such as greater public scrutiny and lengthy procurement procedures,” said Mr Chanakira.
He said the National Health Strategy put in place by Government contains various programmes to direct and institutionalise stakeholder participation in the healthcare delivery system, maintain the momentum of private-public cooperation and create an enabling environment for those who want to come on board.
Mr Chanakira added that the key to any successful health system is the supply of medicines, the availability of essential commodities and equipment to enable testing, treatment, care and support.
“Nevertheless, within the public sector, procurement of health commodities requires more flexibility and responsiveness to change (in population health and in environmental conditions) than procurement of other products.
“Thus, ineffective procurement in public health institutions compromises the quality of national disease responses, interventions and programmes.
“Inadequate planning, forecasting and procurement methods often contribute to high commodity costs, long lead times, stock imbalances and overall, commodity insecurity,” he said.