Zim needs US$85mln for medicines every year – health minister

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By Anna Chibamu

THE government needs US$85 million in foreign currency annually to buy medicines for public hospitals, health minister Obadiah Moyo has revealed.

He was speaking a press conference Thursday after Acting President Constantino Chiwenga toured the government owned pharmaceutical company NatPharm as well as the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

Zimbabwe has been struggling with serious foreign currency shortages which have hit imports of fuel as well as drugs for hospitals.

Chiwenga told reporters that government had procured drugs worth US$25 million which now awaited distribution around the country.

Minister Moyo added that although US$85 million was needed for drug imports annually, the US$25 million would suffice for now.

“Government has tried all its best to come up with medicines,” said the minister.

“Treasury has paid $25 million for drugs and it will soon avail more funds to the tune of an additional $25 million for more drugs.

“Normally, as the ministry of health, we require US$85 million to stock up for the year. So, US$25 million will (suffice) for quite some time.

“It’s almost a quarter (of our requirements) if not more; so, it will cover us for the first quarter (of the year).”

He added; “We cannot go and order US$85 million of drugs in one go; otherwise they will expire on us.

“So, we have to do it gradually and the rate at which the medicines are coming is quite appropriate.”

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