Zanzibar — THE Zanzibar Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed the existence of expired medicines worth more than 3.3bn/- in central medical stores in the Islands that could constitute a serious health hazard if 'mishandled and penetrates into the market.'
In addition to that, CAG Dr Othman Abbasi Ali said there are expired medicines and medical equipment in public facilities across the Islands, while destruction has not been done since 2007, a huge challenge in the health sector.
World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on safe disposal of expired drugs, direct that 'pharmaceutical solid waste should be disposed of at the base of the working face of the landfill and covered immediately by fresh municipal waste, and security measures to prevent scavenging should be in place.'
Zanzibar CAG's 2021/2022 report also established unsafe and poor delivery of medicines and medical supplies, as he linked expired drugs and equipment to the result of procurement or receipt of medicines from donors, with a relatively short shelf life, and poor handling.
"I urge the government to intervene and arrange for the disposal of expired, damaged, or obsolete health consumables and equipment," CAG appealed as he also emphasised on thorough checking, instead of relying heavily on 'expired date on packaging.'
He argues that expiry dates on packaging, are questionable after a man and not pregnant women tested having pregnancy with HCG, which indicates problems with reagent and equipment.
"We need to take extra-precaution in our health system to save lives," he said as he read the report at the gathering graced by Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi.
President Mwinyi promised to take action as recommended by the CAG, directing all accounting officers in the government to amend or resolve all issues raised.