Dar es Salaam — The Medical Stores Department (MSD) on Tuesday October 09 signed an agreement which will enable it to be a major seller of medicines, medical and laboratory equipment in 16 member states of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
The agreement comes after the MSD was tasked with the responsibility about a year ago during a meeting of SADC's Council of Ministers of Health in Pretoria, South Africa.
Commenting on the matter, SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax said that Tanzania met all the criteria despite stiff competition.
"I congratulate the experts from both sides (Tanzania and SADC)," she said. "This is a unique opportunity for Tanzania and MSD. I call upon the department to finalise the procedures as soon as possible so that the job can start immediately."
After the signing ceremony, MSD director general Laurean Bwanakunu said the buying system officially started yesterday following the signing of the agreement.
"With the signing of the contract, MSD will have nine major responsibilities, including receiving orders from 16 SADC countries, administering statistics and information as needed, administering the database, and monitoring the buying process," he said.
For his part, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Dr Faraji Mnyepe, said the signing of the contract was yet another demonstration of Tanzania's prowess in economic diplomacy.
"Our task is to make sure that this decision was not misguided," said Dr Mnyepe.
MSD has already started offering services by supplying ARVs in Zimbabwe and Uganda.
MSD communications manager Etty Kusiluka told The Citizen that the signing of the contract placed Tanzania in a better position to procure medicine at a lower cost. "This is also a great honour to our country and MSD. This means the cost of medicine will now be lower," she said.