Maputo — The Maputo Provincial Directorate of Health has denied that there is any shortage of medicines in the provincial hospital in the southern city of Matola.
The independent daily "O Pas" had reported the shortage, leading the provincial directorate to set up a team which went to the hospital to find out what was going on.
On Thursday "O Pais" reporters went to the provincial medical stores, where they found that the medicines do indeed exist. What had happened, according to provincial director Iolanda Tchamo, was a breakdown in the internal communications between two sections of the hospital, the medical stores and the public pharmacy.
The medicines were in the stores, but not the pharmacy, giving the appearance that stocks had run out, even of drugs as basic as paracetamol.
"We have essential medicines for the province for the next six months", said Tchamo. "The medicines mentioned in the report are in stock".
She added that the staff members who allowed the public pharmacy in the hospital to run out of medicines will be held responsible. "We are working with the hospital right now", she said. "A team is there looking into the matter. We shall take measures against the people responsible for poor quality management".
An electronic stocks management system exists, which should ensure that there are never any shortages. Staff at the medical stores showed the "O Pais" reporters the system which makes available information n real time about the medicines intended for the district stores and the hospitals. The workers in the stores are thus informed about the availability of medicines and when any particular health unit is about to run out.
But in the central province of Zambezia, "O Pais" has confirmed the continued theft of medicines from the National Health Service for sale under dangerous conditions in the informal markets.
At the Naiopue market, in Ile district, eight kilos of stolen medicines were recently confiscated. According to a market inspector, the police detained the traders involved, but a few days later they were back on the streets, selling medicines indiscriminately in the open air.
The "O Pais" team went to the Naiopue crossroads, on the boundary between Ile and Alto Molocue districts, where they found paracetamol and assorted antibiotics on sale. The medicines bore Ministry of Health labels, and so had clearly been stolen from the public hospitals.