Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Govt to increase produiction of Intravenous Fluids (IV)-drips

THE government plans to produce Intravenous Fluids (IV)-drips in its major hospitals countrywide, the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, has said. The minister made the remarks on Monday this week during a visit at the IV production plant at St Joseph Hospital in Peramiho, Ruvuma region. “I do not see why the hospitals should continue to import the IVs when we have the capacity and expertise to produce them for local use,” she explained. The drips have numerous benefits to patients, including rehydration, after being dehydrated from illness or excessive activity. Others include antibiotics to treat an infection; chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment and medications for the treatment of pain. The drips are also used during operations of patients. Rate and quantity of intravenous fluid depends on medical condition, body size, and age. Regulation ensures the correct amount of fluid drips from the bag down the tube into the vein at the correct rate. In another development, the Medical Stores Department (MSD) is in its final preparations to start manufacturing medicine and medical equipment in partnership with the private sector. 

Tanzania's Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu at a press conference in Dar es Salaam recently

The objective is to enhance service delivery and reduce shortages of medicine in the country as well as medical equipment. MSD Director General Mr Laurean Bwanakunu said the tendering process to get an expert consultant has already been announced and that the process will be completed this month. Mr Bwanakunu said MSD currently imports 80 per cent of medicine and medical equipment due to low manufacturing capacity of local companies. “Because we import a large amount of drugs and medical equipment, we are forced to have big spaces to store them,” the MSD director general said. Speaking on labeling of drugs, Mr Bwanakunu said the MSD started labeling all drugs and placed a mark on each packet with a sign ‘GOT’, meaning Government of Tanzania in the financial year 2013/14. He said the sign is on all drugs, including tablets and medical equipment, all aimed at controlling the drugs and equipment from ending up in private drug stores. “Previously, we used to label the packages of the drugs and medical equipment with ‘MSD’ sign; but this would not guarantee control of the medicine from getting into private drug stores,” he explained. He said currently, 80 per cent of the drugs and medical equipment have been labeled with the GOT sign while those supplying the MSD with drugs have been directed to do the same. “Until June this year, all medical supplies will have been marked with MSD and GOT signs,” he explained.

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