ACTIONAID Zambia has called on government to critically address the shortage of medicines in hospitals as soon as possible.
Country director Nalucha Ziba has told Mwebantu in a statement that the shortage of medicines is likely to trigger patient care and safety issues.
“As a result, most citizens are usually issued with prescriptions as opposed to being given medication from the institutions’ pharmacies. This is despite government rolling out a universal coverage package which compels all workers to contribute towards,” she said.
Ms Ziba said ActionAid recognises the challenges being faced by the Ministry of Health which boarder on procurements among others due to the perceived cartels that have captured the procurement industry in Zambia to an extent of endangering lives through the supply of substandard medicines such as expired drugs.
She however called on government to put in place a comprehensive plan of providing medicines to all facilities and ensure that the process of strengthening the procurement systems is expedited as the continuation of the challenges has potential to collapse the entire health system which is already limping.
“As a rights-based organisation, we call on the government to ensure that they view access to medication as a right, as we all know that the continued lack of access to medication is likely to increase the mortality rates in the country. This further, exacerbates the care work that largely places a burden on women and children who are the most vulnerable and need these services the most,” Ms Ziba said.
She further called government to seriously implement the Public Finance Management Act of 2018 and the revised Procurement Act of 2020 to strengthen the procurement processes in Zambia.