Dr. Fred M’membe asks;

Why are they failing to truthfully and simply explain this drug shortage?

It cannot be denied that there’s a critical shortage of drugs in our health centres, clinics, and hospitals. And the government at the highest level has failed to truthfully and simply explain the reasons for this shortage. Why is it difficult to truthfully and simply explain this drug shortage? Vested business interests. Our people’s lives are being sacrificed on the altar of business expediency.

The problem is indecision over who should be given the business contracts to supply the drugs. We have a local drug supplier who is forced to send workers home because the government doesn’t want to buy drugs from the company. The needed drugs are there in the country. It’s simply a question of not wanting to buy drugs from those who have them.

What we are seeing on television about visiting the Ministry of Health is nothing but political posturing, a facade. The provision of health services to our people cannot be micro managed in that way. Drug shortages have very serious adverse economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes to patients. It means patients have to increase out of pocket costs. And this increases rates of drug errors, adverse events, and mortality.

Zambians today live in a country with one of the worst health outcomes globally.

Too many mothers and babies die every day. Every mother is valuable. Life is sacred. One cannot claim to uphold the principle of the sanctity of life if provision has not been made for even minimal healthcare for every person. This is a priority we cannot ignore if we wish to be a caring and compassionate nation.

In order to avoid drug shortages and achieve universal health coverage for all, there’s a need for us as a nation to grow the pharmaceutical industry and ensure that patients get fast access to all the drugs covered under the Essential Drugs List.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party


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