Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mwinyi: No fake ARVs drugs being sold in Tanzania market

THE Government has assured Tanzanians that there are no fake Anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs being sold in the local market in the country, and that the drugs currently in circulation are strong and genuine. The Minister for Health and Social services Dr. Hussein Mwinyi has said. Dr. Mwinyi made a clarification in Parliament on Thursday evening in Dodoma in response to legislators’ querries that, faked ARVs drugs are sold in Tanzania. However, he has urged AIDS sufferers all over the country not to worry about the issue and continue using them as usual as they do not cause any harm.   The Minister made the call during when he was elaborating some queries of legislators over the availability of medicines in hospitals in the country. This was after some legislators had just contributed their views on his ministry’s budget speech which sailed through on Thursday evening this week. The legislators had raised some queries alongside some points of contradictions that had criticized the general trend of the supply of medicines in most government hospitals in the country, noting that the current available stock is not sufficient to cater for the need of patients who attends such hospitals to receive medical services. However, the Minister also used the opportunity to refute earlier allegations raised by the opposition camp in the National Assembly that, the government had delayed to carry out investigations into the fake anti-retroviral drug (ARVs) that permeated the local market and confused users over the past few months. The claims were leveled by shadow minister Dr Antony Mbassa who was tabling the position of the opposition camp and their outlook for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare budget debated Mbassa complained that the fake drugs issue was raised some eight months ago yet, ‘nothing has been done’ by the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA). At which point he also raised allegations against the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industry (TPI) saying they manufactured the fake drugs. Responding to queries by some legislators who spoke of the current intolerable attitudes being shown by some untrustworthy nurses to  expectant mothers in government hospitals, he noted that, already his ministry through regional hospital executives had given the district authorities directives to use powers to deal with such cases happening at district levels. Contributing to the budget speech on Wednesday this week, special seat legislators Maulida Anna Kombo, Pendenc iana Kikwambe and Riziki Omar Juma, all spoke of the existing problems at a labour pain in hospital whereby she said little attention is being given to expectant mothers.  They also talked of lack of maternal equipments that are not available in most hospitals, and that expectant mothers have to buy their own before going to labor pain units. They noted that the situation is so pathetic that those who are unable to afford sometimes loose their lives. In view of this situation, have however asked the government what steps are taken in order to eradicate such h a phenomenon,   On the problem of the availability of medicines in hospitals he admitted of the existing problem and said that the government has put down some measures which would help prevent the escalating phenomenon from happening in future. He said that, the government through his ministry has laid down some strategies and rules which will prevent the scarcity of medicines by increasing the budget portion of the Medical Stores Department (MSD) so as to increase the deficit of 40 percent, to clear all debts that the MSD is owned and looked at their operational system and see if there is a need for restructuring. Another step he noted is direct delivery of medicines to respective medical centres in the country, and has also assured people in the country that out of the 67percent of their contribution for medical service would be included into the basket fund to help buy the medicines.  Other strategies he mentioned is the system by the government of expanding the National Insurance Health Fund (NIHF) by allowing other members to join. Unlike at the moment, the fund is contributed only by government workers. On the maternal complications, he said that mothers should be educated and made to understand the status of their health matters as related to maternal and child health. However, he has reminded mothers to h and learn basic issues of their personal lives. He stressed also on the balanced diet for pregnant mothers and noted that, this is an important factor for their economic gain. Apart from the two, he noted that, there has been occurred numerous maternal deaths in most rural African rural communities due to poor infrastructure.

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