By Moses Ziyambi
Curative health services in Masvingo are facing significant constraints as shortage of drugs threaten the provision of service delivery as drug distributor National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm) continue to face viability challenges.
The issue was recently deliberated at a recent full council meeting where problems in the provision of such services as Opportunistic Infection (OI) and Mother to Child Health (MCH) and immunization were discussed.
“Concern was raised on shortage of drugs at Council clinics and high ambulance fees for maternity mothers. The Chief Environmental Health officer explained that availability of drugs in Council clinics was based on the supplies from Natpharm which was the cheapest supplier of drugs in the country,” read the minutes.
Council clinics have persistently faced serious capacity utilization problems with Tell Zimbabwe reporting earlier this year that a shortage of staff at the clinics was compromising service delivery.
Asked to comment on the latest challenges, Chief Environmental Health Officer Zvapano Munganasa played down the issue, saying council clinics are sufficiently supplied with all basic drugs.
“There are adequate supplies of all vital drugs that are needed in our clinics. This gives us the capacity to deliver on the primary health requirements of patients as is expected of us,” said Munganasa.
Written prescriptions, he added, should not be misconstrued as pointing to a shortage in the dispensaries as some of the medicines prescribed are never stocked at council clinics.
“The public seem to misinterpret things; when we write prescription medicines that should be bought at the pharmacy, it doesn’t mean we have a shortage of that drug. It means that drug is not part of our stock list in the first place,” he said.
Council purchases its drugs from Natpharm, which is the sole state drug procurement and distribution company which of late has been beset by liquidity challenges that have seen most government hospitals running short of drugs.health