Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Government has floated a drug tender worth $59 million from the Health Levy, amid revelations that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has increased its foreign currency allocation for the procurement of medicine to about $4 million weekly.
Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Mrs Ropafadzo Hove said the developments were expected to improve national drug stocks and availability in public health institutions.
Mrs Hove said Government was facing challenges securing foreign currency to procure medicines, even with the coming in of the Health Levy.
This impacted negatively on national drug stocks.
“The major bottleneck to stocking Government pharmacies had been foreign currency and we had a backlog dating back to August last year,” said Mrs Hove.
She said in recent weeks, the RBZ has been availing foreign currency amounting to $4 million.
Mrs Hove said last week, the National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) was allocated $4 million, up from $1,7 million allocated the previous week.
“I am quite pleased that in the past three weeks the allocation has been very significant and we are confident that if this trend continues, we will be able to make an impact,” said Mrs Hove.
She said Government had already floated tenders to the tune of $59 million from the Health Levy for drug procurement.
“We have already floated tenders for the Health Levy to the tune of $59 million and at this rate that we are getting foreign currency, we are confident that the national stocks will significantly improve,” she said.
For some time, public health institutions were struggling to provide essential drugs, with patients walking away with prescriptions to procure medicines from private pharmacies.
Last year, the Government introduced a Health Levy- funded by 5 percent of collections from every dollar worth of airtime to fund mainly drug supplies.
The move is bearing fruit.