Health sector needs $65m for drugs
The Ministry of Health and Child Care requires $65 million to urgently buy drugs needed in public health institutions, Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said. Dr Parirenyatwa said he had since approached the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who is now looking into the matter as a matter of urgency. “I have approached Treasury. VaChinamasa (Finance Minister) is looking at it. What we need is about $65 million for the year, but he can give us in tranches,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He said the issue was urgent and needed to be given the priority it deserved. “What I am saying is, do not continue prioritising other arms of Government without looking at our arm too. For example, treasury approved a budget of $450 000 for Midlands province, but they were given $3 000. So what does that mean?” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
The $3 000 availed to Midlands was not only for drugs, but for other operational costs that include food for patients and utility bills. Dr Parirenyatwa’s appeal follows revelations of critical drug shortages in public health institutions across the country.
The Health Minister has embarked on a nationwide tour of public institutions starting with district, provincial and central hospitals. During his tours, Dr Parirenyatwa, was advised of the massive shortage of essential drugs, resulting in his Ministry officially approaching the Ministry of Finance to disburse approved funds to enable hospitals to provide health services.
Further investigations revealed that no drug procurements were done by Government since the beginning of the year. In an interview after touring Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo recently, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko attributed the scenario to economic sanctions imposed on the country by the West.
VP Mphoko, however, said besides the drug situation, the state of affairs at Mpilo Central Hospital was improving. “There is a lot of improvement. We toured private wards. They are very clean and very comfortable,” he said.
Commenting on the drug situation, VP Mphoko said: “You know our problem. It is to do with liquidity. We are under sanctions, but things are improving, as you can see.”