September 2014 DailyNews; THE government is determined to address the shortage of medicines with the aim of improving the quality of health service delivery in the country.
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Kebwe Steven Kebwe, said that the ministry is working towards a single system for medicine supply to ensure high quality of health services at affordable prices.
He was speaking at the launch of Dodoma regional Prime Vendor (PV) system, a unique public private partnership (PPP) seeking to supplement efforts by the Medical Store Department (MSD) to supply medicines from a single vendor in a pooled regional approach.
The deputy minister conceded the problem of ‘out of stock’ in public health facilities, but affirmed the government resolve to improve the services, with special focus on reducing the deaths of infants and pregnant mothers.
He ordered effective management of medicines for the benefit of majority Tanzanians, warning that strict disciplinary measures will be taken against misbehaving medics.
Dr Kebwe also reiterated the government’s caution against herbalists claiming to cure some of the diseases which remain incurable.
“The government appreciates the big role that herbalists play in the country, but there are some dishonest individuals using the opportunity to cheat innocent citizens.”
Dr Zainab Chaula from the regional medical office described availability of medicines as an indicator of good quality of care even though other factors waiting time, empathy, compassion, good diagnostics and functional medical equipment are equally important.
Public health facilities in the region get their medicinal supplies from MSD, but the supply chain remains complex and complicated with a variety of stakeholders involved impeding the supply of sufficient quantities of medicines.
Although health facilities and districts have funds for the purchase of supplementary medicines, the procurement of such medicines remains fragmented and uncoordinated, not benefiting from the economies of scale.
Under the PV model, the purchase of medicines from all facilities of every district in the region are pooled and purchased from a single supplier, the prime vendor.
The PV system is a component of a broader initiative — Health Promotion and System Strengthening (HPSS) — that is part of the development cooperation between Tanzania and Switzerland.