Zambia hit by drug shortages of hospital as new govt struggles

Hakainde Hichilema weku Zambia

LUSAKA – Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) President Kasonde Mwenda has written to President Hakainde Hichilema advising him to declare the shortage of medical drugs in the country a health emergency.

Mr. Mwenda said declaring the shortage of medical drugs in the country a health emergency as contained in the emergency powers act chapter 108 of the laws of Zambia would enable quick procurement of medicines to save lives of citizens.

There is a short supply of medical drugs in health facilities throughout the country.

In a letter addressed to President Hichilema dated 24th March, 2022, Mr. Mwenda said many Zambians are losing lives across the country owing to the shortage of Medicines in health facilities.

Mr. Mwenda reminded President Hichilema that the Zambian Law has empowered him as Head of State to make emergency regulations whenever an emergency proclamation is in force as guided.

He also called for the removal of Sylvia Masebo as Minister of Health.
Mr. Mwenda said Ms. Masebo should be given another portfolio and a person well vested in the Public Health Administration should take over the Ministry of Health.

“Your Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema, we the Economic Freedom Fighters-EFF party advise that in the interest of many Zambian lives that are perishing across the country following shortage of Medicines in Public Hospitals (health facilities) across the country which we believe has been caused by procurement hurdles that your administration is facing; may you declare a HEALTH EMERGENCY through evocation of the Presidential Emergency Powers as contained in the Emergency Powers Act Chapter 108 of the Laws of Zambia so that your government can expressly and expeditiously procure medicines with legal immunity from the encumbrance and time delays of the procurement processes,” Mr. Mwenda wrote.

“Your Excellency Mr. President, the Zambian Law has empowered you as President to make emergency regulations whenever an emergency proclamation is in force as guided that:Sec(3) (1) Whenever an emergency proclamation is in force the President may, by statutory instrument, make such regulations as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defense of the Republic, the maintenance of public order and the suppression of mutiny, rebellion and riot, and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community,” he stated.

“Authorise the acquisition on behalf of the Republic of any property other than land. We also advise that you reshuffle your Cabinet. In particular we appeal that the Minister of Health be given another portfolio and a person well vested in Public Health Administration takes over the Ministry of Health. Your expedient intervention to save lives is of essence. May God Bless Zambia,” Mr. Mwenda added.

But Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo recently said that the government has enough resources for procurement of drugs and equipment for health facilities as it was included in this year’s budget.

Ms. Masebo said that the only challenge the Ministry has been facing is a reorganization of systems to cut down the middlemen and lower the cost of equipment and drugs to a reasonable price.

“We want to ensure that Zambians participate in the business that deals with the health sector, that is why the instruction I am giving to my ministry is to ensure that 30 percent of all contracts in the ministry must be reserved for Zambians,” she said.

“The other 70 percent is where Zambians are free to participate with other people,” she added.

Ms. Masebo said persons with disabilities, women, and youths will be included in the 30 per cent that has been reserved for Zambians.

She also said that the government will this year embark on the construction of health facilities countrywide in order to enable patients to access health services close to them.

Ms. Masebo said the New Dawn government is committed to reducing both communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.

Source: Zambian Times