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It is shocking that while hospitals countrywide are grappling with debilitating drug shortages, an international tender can be floated shunning local suppliers.

 The tender is very clear in excluding local suppliers who have either previously produced or procured the essential drugs including IV solutions.

The ostensible reason for this callous action being that the suppliers are associated with the previous PF Government.

 It is unconscionable to subject citizens to needless suffering and loss of life on account of political consideration.

The serious politically motivated supply chain disruption has had very serious effect on the health sector. It is gratifying that contrary to the false narrative Acting Health Minister Joseph Milupi acknowledged the malaise and indicated that remedial action to resolve the crisis was in hand.

Clearly shunning local suppliers and manufacturers is not the answer.

 The manipulation of suppliers clearly makes nonsense of the tendering process. This is process that is supposed to identify the most cost effective  mode of procurement. The introduction of politics puts paid to this notion, it introduces corruption, abuse of office and most importantly loss of national resources.

Importing IV fluids from India is utter nonsense when local warehouses are jam-packed with locally produced stocks.

We dare the Auditor General and indeed the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to become proactive in stopping this serious abuse of power and authority.

 It is common knowledge that  for diabetes patients, the intake of insulin is a matter of life and  death, and it is not something that bureaucrats should be toying with for whatever reason.

Today we carry a story of a tender for the procurement, supply and delivery of Insulin and IV Fluids which has been floated  but Government has shunned local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies to participate in the tender in preference for foreign companies .

The tender that was floated on Monday by the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) is expected to be closed in the next two weeks after which bidders will be selected.

Instead of ZAMMSA inviting local suppliers, the agency has only asked them to try and participate and are not sure if their bids would be considered.

This essentially means that government is being  sabotaged by its own officials.  People will continue dying while officials who are supposed to buy drugs, continue  playing politics and dragging their feet.

Perhaps, it is time for President Hakainde Hichilema, to intervene and save lives. Ultimately, the buck stops with him and he can take action to ensure the right thing is done. 


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