PAC of Parliament worried over shortage of medicine supply

By: Ivy Tunkete Mwanyongo

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has expressed worry over the failure of the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) to meet the demand for supplying drugs due to procurement issues.

PAC Chairperson Mark Botomani said, it is shocking to note that the procurement process takes almost 9 months to be completed, a thing he says is uncalled for.

“How in this world of technology where everything is supposed to be fast a procurement process would take 9 months to be concluded, actually that’s almost the ending of a given financial year, Said Botomani.

He has since indicated that the committee will be taking the matter to the Comptroller of Statuary Corporations as well as the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), to understand what should be done for the process to be shortened.

Botomani added that despite the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) mentioning the shortage of Forex as another contributing factor, there is a need for the government to prioritize the procurement of drugs considering that they are crucial to the citizens.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer for Central Medical Stores Trust Dr Chaikaiko Chadzunda has acknowledged that they are having challenges with supplies of drugs, adding that there is a need to understand how the body operates.

Dr Chadzunda said the body procures 40 percent of its drugs direct from supplies and that sometimes it uses third parties.

He has since disclosed that the body has about 20 Billion Kwacha working capital with the hope that the government will provide some extra funds in the coming budget.

Officials from the Central Medical Stores on Wednesday appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to explain its operations, among others.



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