By OLIVER SAMBOKO
GOVERNMENT must explain why the country is still experiencing drug shortages in public health institutions despite the Ministry of Finance releasing funds to buy them.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Finance said it released K9.3 billion towards the ongoing implementation of the 2022 national budget of which K646.5 million was released towards the countrywide supply of drugs and medical supplies aimed at avoiding interruptions in public hospitals.
But Residents Doctors Association of Zambia president Brian Sampa wondered where the money being released by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning for buying medical supplies is going since there are no drugs in public hospitals.
He said the Ministry of Health is not being sincere by claiming that hospitals and clinics have been stocked with drugs, when the opposite is the truth.
“The shortage in public health institutions is real as patients are still being asked to buy essential medicines from private dealers and so we wonder where the money for drugs is going,” Dr Sampa said.
He said from the figures the Ministry of Finance has been releasing, the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Health is almost halfway spent but no tangible improvement has taken place in the health sector.
Dr Sampa challenged Health Minister Sylvia Masebo to allow the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) to procure and distribute drugs and other medical supplies as per its mandate. He said this is the only way shortage of drugs in the country can end.