By Chikumbi Katebe

GOVERNMENT should set up a task force to consider possibility of engaging civil society in ensuring transparency and accountability in the medicine supply chain system, Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign executive director Felix Mwanza.

Mr Mwanza said TALC was delighted at plans to restructure Medical Stores Limited from a private limited company to a statutory body as announced by the Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya earlier in the week.

He said this was a welcome move to increase efficiency in availability of drugs in public health facilities.

“What is overly important however is to put in place measures that will thwart drug thefts as well as to ensure that procurement procedures are efficient and will not allow drugs with a short shelf life to be procured as this will lead to expiry of drugs and ultimately shortages in our public health facilities,” said Mr. Mwanza.

He explained that drugs theft remains an unending deterrent to access to quality healthcare services in Zambia.

He charged that while theft could be attributed at various levels in the supply chain, it was possible to set up checks and monitoring systems in order to identify at what point the thefts actually took place.

Mr Mwanza explained that the decentralisation of Medical Stores Limited was evidence of Government’s commitment to deliver good health systems, but that they required water-tight monitoring systems to ensure the drugs get to the intended recipients.

“We further call upon the Government to remain steadfast in implementing reforms aimed at achieving efficiency in service delivery and effectiveness with regard to responding to public health demands,” he said.

He said the move was an indication of the prioritized health system and Government’s commitment to the attainment of equity and access to cost effective quality health services as close to the family as possible.

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