10 February 2013

Tanzania: Kikwete Orders MOH, Police Crackdown On Thieving Pharmacies

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has ordered an immediate crackdown on private pharmacies illegally selling public drugs countrywide.

Mr Kikwete issued the order to Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to collaborate with Tanzania Police Force to undertake a countrywide campaign against the owners of such pharmacies because they are denying the majority of Tanzanians access to drugs.

"I am ordering the ministry and the police force to inspect private pharmacies and arrest those found to be selling public medicines," Kikwete said in a speech read on his behalf by Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi during a ceremony to inaugurate an ultra modern warehouse for drugs and medical equipment.

The president said it is was unacceptable that while the government struggled to buy expensive drugs to treat the majority of the people, especially those in rural areas, a few crooked people were illegally selling the same to private pharmacies, which then sold it to the public.

"We cannot allow this to continue happening because our people are suffering," the president stressed while attacking thieving public officials, who have denied majority of taxpayers access to quality medical services.

He commended Dr Mwinyi and Medical Stores Department (MSD) for implementing a government directive which requires that drugs and medical equipment be supplied directly at clinics and health centres instead of going through regional authorities to curb losses.

The 6.4bn/- ultra-modern warehouse, two Iveco refrigerated trucks, 26 walk in cold rooms, 26 generators and an assortment of medical equipment were donated by Canadian, the United States governments and American based Doctors for Africa not-for-profit organization.

The Canadian government donated 4.5bn/-, which financed purchase of the trucks and 32 cold rooms. Kikwete paid tribute to Washington and Ottawa for continued support to the country's health sector, saying the donated equipment would go a long way to ensure the government's goal of quality health services for all was realized.

US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Leinhardt reaffirmed Washington's commitment to support Dar es Salaam's health sector as part of efforts to ensure quality health services were accessed by the majority of the people. Ambassador Leinhardt pointed out that for quality health to be provided to the majority, the US government supported a supply of cold chain through which drugs, medical equipment were made available to people countrywide.

"This MSD modern warehouse is a vital tool to help achieve better health services to all," he said while pledging that Washington would in the year provide over 70 million US dollars to support HIV and AIDS treatment and care services but also malaria control.

Earlier, acting Permanent Secretary at MoHSW, Dr Donald Mbando said the 32 walk-incold room and other facilities had increased the storage capacity for vaccines from 46,561 to 97,144 litres up to three months at both national and regional levels.

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