THE Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) has taken a swipe at government for failing to address the medicines and drugs shortage, amidst indications that the situation in the health sector is worsening by the day.
By Michael Gwarisa
Through their Micro-blogging site, Twitter, ZIMA said even though government claims to have allocated funds towards the procurement of drugs and pharmaceutical supplies, they were yet to realize the effects of such a gesture as health conditions were deteriorating on a daily basis and lives were being lost on daily basis.
“ZIMA is yet to see the effects of the forex released for medical supplies and pharmacy drugs. Our patients are relapsing, deteriorating, operations being cancelled. We urge the government to increase the allocation of forex as the gap is currently huge as a matter of urgency,” said ZIMA.
Early last month, the Minister of Health and Childcare (MoHCC), Dr Obadiah Moyo told a cholera handover ceremony that government allocated US$6.7 million against a requirement of US$29 million to address the essential drugs crisis.
Zimbabwe imports 70-90% of its drugs, hospital consumables and equipment at a total annual cost of US$400 million per annum.
Government is understood to have allocated a paltry $3,5 million to Pharmaceutical Wholesalers’ Association for the purchase of drugs. According to the association, of the $3,5 million forex received, $2,5 million benefited only four of the 27 association members, while the remainder was shared by 12 others, leaving the majority with nothing.
The Zimbabwe drugs situation worsened soon after the monitory policy announcement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). Since then the sector has been trailed by non-availability of some drugs such as insulin and oral anti-diabetic as well as salbutamol inhalers.
Blood pressure drugs such as atenolol and nifedipine have been out of stock for months now. The situation according to medical experts is making the management of patients who need these chronic medications quite difficult and costly.