Zambia’s medicines supply and control body has allayed fears of a shortage of drugs at public health facilities, saying Thursday that the country has enough stocks of medicines and other medical supplies.Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) director general Billy Mweetwa said his organisation had adequate stocks to meet the needs of public hospitals and clinics.
“We have purchased sufficient anti-hypertensive, anti-asthma, skin protection lotion for albinos, mental health medications, pain and palliative care, antibiotics, anesthesia medicines and many other essential drugs,” Mweetwa said in a statement.
The assurance follows months of concerns about the availability of drugs in Zambia’s public hospitals.
There have been reports that hospitals are facing a critical shortage of essential drugs and other medical supplies, a situation that the government last May blamed on an “overhaul of the drug procurement system”.
The reports said the shortages – which started in October 2021 – have worsened in recent weeks, with some hospitals completely running out of essential drugs and consumables.
In addition to medicines and intravenous fluids, most hospitals were report to be facing a shortage of consumables such as syringes, gloves and swabs.
Mweetwa announced that ZAMMSA was working with other government agencies to promote the local manufacturing of medicines and other medical supplies.
“We understand that this will help tremendously and, more still, allow medicines to be manufactured according to the needs of the public health sector,” he said.