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Shady drug suppliers behind drug shortage propaganda – Masebo

SOME suppliers of medicines and medical supplies whose contracts were cancelled are mounting a strong propaganda against the government, Health Minister Sylvia Masebo has said.

Ms. Masebo said there was a systematic ploy by the contractors to create a bad picture of the drug situation in the country when in actual sense the levels of drugs have been low for the last three to five years.

She said the procurement process that was previously advertised had a number of irregularities as Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZMMSA) did not conduct a transparent tendering procedure.

Ms Masebo said this prompted ZMMSA to re-advertise the contracts in a more transparent manner.

She said following this cancellation, some suppliers had taken to social media to create a false picture about the drug situation in the country.

The minister was speaking in the National Assembly yesterday when she made a ministerial statement on the availability of medicines and medical supplies in health facilities.

Ms. Masebo said there was however a low stock of medicines and medical supplies and this had been mainly due to lack of resources for procurement.

She said the availability of drugs over the years had been below the expected target of 80 percent and for a country to be certified stock sufficient.

Ms. Masebo said to meet the target, the country required K5.2 billion.

She said this was why the new dawn administration had increased the budgetary allocation from K1.4 billion to K3.8 billion. Ms Masebo said Government owed over K2.2 billion to suppliers.

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