The State-appointed agent for the procurement, storage and distribution of medical supplies, the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm), has been given 48 hours to approach the local market to procure the required medicine and sundries using RTGS dollars in a move meant to speed up the procurement process.
The resolution followed recommendations of a meeting held on March 19, 2019, between the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and Natpharm, in direct response to media coverage following a news clip by Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals' Paediatrics Division head Dr Azza Mashumba.
Doctors alluded to tender processes slowing procurement according to PRAZ.
"The Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) noted with concern the news story pertaining to the limited resources in the health sector as covered in the media recently. Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals' Paediatrics Division head, Dr Azza Mashumba, indicated in the news clip that the health officials were operating under very difficult circumstances.
Dr Mashumba alluded to tender processes as contributing to acute shortage of medicine and sundries," said PRAZ in a statement.
After rummaging through the issue for an in-depth appreciation of the actual challenge, it emerged that Natpharm, failed to procure the required items in time due to several pending US dollar-based nostro contracts at its disposal.
"Due to the shortage of foreign currency contracts could not materialise," said PRAZ.
Failure to service the nostro accounts resulted in the shortage of medicine and sundries in public hospitals, leading to an outcry by hospital officials. Exploiting an outcry by hospital officials, a certain company tabled an unsolicited offer amounting to RTGS$76 million worth of medicine and sundries before Natpharm.
The offer which was brought for usual review by PRAZ's Special Procurement Oversight Committee (SPOC) failed its eligibility test after being found at odds with a section of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act which calls for cost-effectiveness, fairness, honesty, transparency, and competitiveness.
"The Special Procurement Oversight Committee on review noted that the procurement process was not as according to Section 4 (a) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (Chapter 22:23) to "ensure that procurement is effected in a manner that is transparent, fair, honest, cost-effective and competitive".
PRAZ together with the Ministry of Health and Child Care observed at the meeting that competitiveness cannot be assessed with a single bid as the assessment entails having many bids for comparison purposes. In light of the observation the $76 million RTGS offer could not be the means to an end "given the nature of the pharmaceutical market that is mature and has many players".
"The meeting then resolved that in view of the emergency situation in the hospitals Natpharm be given 48 hours to approach the local market to procure the required medicine and sundries using RTGS dollars in a move to speed up the procurement process," said PRAZ.