Minister Mutsvangwa

Government has secured about $30 million from development partners to procure essential drugs, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Briefing the media on Cabinet deliberations on Tuesday, she said Government will also establish a Centre of Excellence in the form of a super specialist hospital at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

Three companies have already shown interest in the project.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had been briefed on progress on the implementation of the 100-day cycle by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo.

“The minister reported on the following programmes undertaken to improve the availability of medicines: Procurement of medicines worth US$2 million from Denmark, securing of US$25 million of medicines from Germcorp, which is currently underway, donation of US$2 million worth of drugs secured by China Polaris and procurement of medicines under a commodity exchange programme involving the Russian Federation National Security, which is already under discussion.

“Based on the results of the medicines availability tracer study by the ministry, 53 percent of the health institutions have two months of stock of at least 65 percent of the tracer medicines available.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said efforts were underway to set up the Centre of Excellence.

“To address the prevailing situation where patients in need of specialist services are forced to seek treatment outside the country, often at costs beyond the reach of many of our citizens, Government is now working towards the establishment of a specialist hospital wing under the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals,” she said.

“Already, three companies have shown interest in partnering with Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals following approval of the Public Private Partnership proposal.” This comes amid revelations that the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) is sitting on US$77 million worth of drug tenders.

Speaking to parliamentarians recently, NatPharm head of IT Mr Zealous Nyabadza said because of the country’s risk perception, most drug manufacturers demanded cash upfront.

“We are currently sitting on US$77 million worth of tenders owing to the foreign currency shortages. Our usual suppliers require cash upfront because the country’s risk perception is high,” said Mr Nyabadza.

He said efforts by NatPharm to open their own retail pharmacies were at an advanced stage.

Mr Nyabadza said the retail pharmacies were meant to address current challenges in the pharmaceutical sector, where pricing of commodities were heavily distorted.herald