21 October 2017

Tanzania: Govt Decries Poor Local Drug Quality

The Medical Stores Department (MSD) has decried the production of substandard drugs.

MSD director general Laurean Bwanakunu told the Parliamentary Committee on HIV/Aids that many locally produced medicines were substandard.

He said MSD had entered into contracts with local drug producers but the products were of poor quality.

The committee was discussing performance reports of MSD and the National Aids Control Programme (NACP).

"There is a need of attracting investors who have large capital in the field to overcome the challenge. Local medicine factories are letting us down as most of their products are poor. Even their packaging is poor," he said.

Special Seats MP Salma Kikwete (CCM) urged the government to revive the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries, which also used to produce anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).

She underscored the need for the country to produce its ARVs to minimise the cost of fighting against HIV/Aids and reducing the cost of taking take of people infected with the virus.

Chief pharmacist Henry Irunde said plans were afoot to revive the Arusha-based plant next month.

Moreover, Dr Irunde said the government and other stakeholders were striving to ensure that at least 60 per cent of all medicines are produced locally by 2020.

"We import a huge per cent of medicines and other medical facilities due to poor investment in medicine factories in Tanzania."

Meanwhile, the HIV/Aids transmission rate from mother to child has been reduced from 21 per cent in 2009 to 7.6 in 2016.

The director for Preventive Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Neema Rusibamayila, said the achievement was due to government efforts to persuade pregnant women to test for the killer disease in clinics.

She said the ministry was implementing various interventions to minimise new HIV/Aids transmissions.

NACP manager Angela Ramadhani said HIV/Aids prevalence had been reduced to a large extent.

She said HIV/Aids cases declined from 1.61 for each 1,000 births in 2012 to at least 1.19 by 2016, adding that the target was to reduce the rate to 0.16.


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