Government has constituted a pilferage task force to curb the theft of drugs in health institutions in the country.
Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde said measures to stop the theft of drugs have been intensified.
Dr. Kasonde said the pilfering task force will be tough on selfish health workers who are in the habit of stealing drugs from hospitals and clinics.
He disclosed this in a ministerial statement issued in parliament today.
He observed that drugs and other medical supplies were found in wrong hands and sold openly to unsuspecting members of the general public because of pilferage.
The minister said five people that include health workers who were caught in the scam have so far been arrested and convicted.
Dr. Kasonde regretted that the drugs and other medical supplies were being diverted when the commodities were purchased using tax payers’ money.
He added that government through the Ministry of Health has increased allocation from K117 million in 2011 to K742 million in 2015 to the health sector.
He further disclosed that 40,000 health centre kits containing priority health needs have been procured and will be distributed when they arrive into the country.
Dr. Kasonde said an additional K290 million worth of essential medicines and medical supplies have been purchased abroad.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health has disclosed that government, in conjunction with its cooperating partners, has established a national supply chain strategy aimed at reforming the supply chain management of drugs and storage facilities.
Dr. Kasonde added that the Medical Stores Limited has been decentralised.
He said so far medical hubs have been opened in Choma, Chipata and Mongu and that three more hubs in unnamed provinces will be opened this year.
On reforming the health sector, Dr. Kasonde said government was upgrading clinics into first level hospitals across the country in order to bring health services closer to the Zambian people.
Chipata compound, Chawama and Kanyama are among the clinics that are currently being upgraded into first level hospitals in order to reduce congestion in hospitals and to provide quality health care services to the people.