ZIMBABWE has started receiving medicines from the Indian Government that were pledged by the country’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu last year.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
During the donation at National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) Harare warehouse, India Ambassador To Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui said this was the first tranche to arrive into the country.
“This is a donation committed by my vice president during his visit here in November 2018. The medicines are critical for the population, for the people as the deputy minister has indicated. So these boxes are more than 500 are worth US$250 000 but have come in as the first tranche of the commitment by my vice president in November 2018,” he said. “The total commitment was US$2, 25 million.”
The remainder is still being procured.
“So the first tranche because of the Cyclone Idai and the issues has been airfreighted not by ship, not by water as always. It’s the first tranche that has come in and the balance with is worth US$2 million are under the process of procurement in India by the relevant authorities from manufacturers,” said the Ambassador.
Mr Masakui said they hope the remainder comes in one go to avoid them expiring before being used.
“I have requested my Government in India to ship not in tranches but in one go. I have been telling my minister that the request has been made by this mission that is the Embassy of India to my government to bring the medicines in one go so that it will be a much bigger consignment that would have come in.
“The reason why I am saying this is because if you see the expiry dates marked on these boxes, it is now 2021, some of them are end of 2020 although we still have atwo or three years to go. So the earlier we have them shipped in two or three tranches if the expiry dates are too close and they are not utilized on time, then some of them go expired. We do not want this sort of situation,” he said.
Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the coming in of medicines from India is expected to stock up the hospitals and will force the reduction of prices by retail pharmacies.
“As government of Zimbabwe we greatly appreaciate the donation of medicines from the UIndian government. We have been waiting for this donation now it has started coming in and at the same time it is worth US$250 000 which is quite a lot. It has come in large quantities and what we have insisted on is that it will not stay here. We are going to be sending them out to our health institutions. At the same time we are grateful that they have long expiry dates. Some of them expire in February 2021,” he said.
He also said the drug stock levels are currently at about 65 percent.
“We need more this is part of building up our stocks. We have moved up from 52 percent we are now currently at about 65 percent which is a big improvement,” he said.
The Minstry’s Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro explained the type of medicines that arrived.
“I see there are hypertensive drugs, drugs for diabetes, drugs to deal with arthritis, you can see your Diclofenac there, and we have Haloperidol there. So they have really gone in tune with what we are worried about as a nation. And I am sure it will go a long way in alleviating what has been going on,” he said.