THE National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) has temporarily shelved the Zimbabwe Assisted Push and Pull System (ZAPPS) reverting back to the Zimbabwe Informed Push hoping to improve availability of medicines in the country.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This move is expected to mitigate shortages of medicines in the country where remote government health institutions are the hardest hit.
Early this month, the Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo fumed at NatPharm management directing them to resolve the issue of medicines distribution.
Speaking with HealthTimes, NatPharm Managing Director Mrs Florah Sifeku explained that the return to ZIP was necessitated by the need to quickly distribute medicines where they are needed.
“We reverted back to the Push system because we wanted to enhance the delivery system. The Ministry was not happy with the ZAPS system which saw medicines arrive at various hospitals and clinics after every quarter,” she said.
She further explained that health institutions were displeased with the delays.
“What happened with ZAPS was that medicines were to be distributed quarterly meaning for example, if medicines were ordered in January the next delivery would be in April. With these delays our customers that is the government health institutions were not pleased with that. The push system will improve the availability of medicines across the country,” Mrs Sifeku said.
Zimbabwe through the assistance of the United States President’s Malaria Initiative rolled out the ZIP system in 2012.
“To help alleviate the shortages of malaria and TB commodities at public health institutions, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW), with support from PMI through the USAID|DELIVER PROJECT, piloted the Zimbabwe Informed Push (ZIP) system in 2009.
“The system was designed to improve delivery of malaria and TB commodities to public health facilities. Based on preliminary results from the pilot, which was conducted in the Midlands Province, the ZIP system rolled out to all of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces.
“The ZIP system is two tiered. Commodities are distributed directly from the NatPharm warehouses to service delivery points. At each facility, a delivery team conducts a physical count of all commodities, documents all losses and adjustments, calculates average monthly consumption, and determines the quantity of stock to deliver or retrieve. Trained District Pharmacy Managers act as delivery team leaders for the ZIP system,” says the United States Presidential Malaria Initiative