India has donated to Zimbabwe a consignment of essential medicines worth US$250 000, as relations between the two countries continue to grow. The medicines were handed over to Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Obediah Moyo, by Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui at NatPharm headquarters in Harare on Wednesday.
The donation also comes after in November last year, India’s Vice President Mr Venkaiah Naidu assured President Mnangagwa that his country will offer assistance to Zimbabwe’s health sector, during his visit to the country.
Ambassador Masakui said the balance of the donation valued at $2 million was under the process of procurement.
“This is the first tranche of the commitment made by the Honourable Vice President of India during his visit to Zimbabwe in November 2018 and in response to the appeal made by Government of Zimbabwe for relief assistance for the victims of Cyclone Idai,” he said.
“The balance of the donation which is with the value of $2 million is under the process of procurement.
The mission has made a request to our Government to dispatch the balance whenever it is ready in one tranche.”
Ambassador Masakui said the modest assistance was in keeping with the long-time friendship and relationship that exists between the two countries.
“It is our commitment, Honourable Minister, to stand by you and your people in times of difficulties,” he said.
“India recognises cooperation in health sector as one of the critical areas in our relationship.
“You are kindly aware that there are several discussions going on for taking this matter forward in terms of collaboration of pharmaceutical companies to ensure availability of lifesaving drugs to the people of Zimbabwe at affordable prices.”
Dr Moyo told ZBC that the drug stocks levels had now improved from 52 percent to 65 percent and the latest addition of medicines from India will further boost the stocks in the country’s hospitals.
He instructed NatPharm officials to quickly dispatch the medicines to needy institutions.
“I am happy that the Indian government has given us drugs with a long shelf life,” he said.
“Our drug stocks are improving and we are employing various measures to ensure that we reach a level where all our hospitals will be adequately stocked.”
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, said Government was grateful to India for supplying drugs for non-communicable diseases, as the bulk of donor support concentrates in catering for communicable diseases and primary healthcare level.
“The medicines that we received today are what we really need in our hospitals,” he said.
“The consignment includes medicines for hypertension, diabetes and pain killers like dicloflenac.”
India has the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical industry and is globally recognised for pioneering the spread of affordable generic drugs.
The new partnership between the two governments presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to tap into the Asian country’s pharmaceutical sector.