Ministry of Health has called for recapitalisation of Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) to ensure that it is properly stocked with drugs to meet demand.
The ministry’s chief of services Queen Dube made the appeal on Thursday when the Ministry of Health appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Health to explain various issues relating to management of health services in the country.
“Central Medical Stores is like a shop where we go and buy drugs for our public facilities. If that shop is not able to give you even three-quarters of what you desire—for central hospitals, they are only able to provide a third. Their capital is small. So, what we are saying is recapitalise, give money to the shopkeeper, let him fill up the shop,” said Dube.
Dube also appealed for increased funding to hospitals to enable them to buy drugs. She said the country’s health budget needs to be increased to ensure that there are enough resources to run hospitals.
Parliamentary Committee on Health member Owen Chomanika, who chaired the meeting, agreed with the ministry on recapitalisation of CMST.
“Recapitalisation is a process and we were engaged sometime back. We also engaged Treasury and everyone. A series of meetings were done and I am sure substantial progress has been made to ensure that at least CMST should be recapitalised,” he said.
According to Chomanika, a financial consultant who was engaged earlier established that the trust needed a K35 billion recapitalisation and there was a commitment by government to give CMST K10 billion in this financial year.
He said the committee got a report that some substantial injections have been made into CMST.
Chomanika, however, said there is also a need for further engagements to ensure that hospitals are properly funded to procure drugs from CMST.
CMST spokesperson Herbert Chandilanga asked for more time to consult on the matter.