HEALTH Minister Joseph Kasonde has expressed concern over the continued pilfering of drugs by health workers.
Speaking during a media briefing on the 2013 Ministry of Health achievements and 2014 action priorities in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Kasonde cited the pilfering of drugs as one of the challenges the ministry faced in the supply of essential medicines.
Other challenges included inadequate skilled pharmaceutical personnel to effectively manage essential medicines, and inadequate transport to facilitate timely delivery of essential medicines from the district to health centres.
”But more sad and difficult to conquer is the pilferage of essential medicines by some members of staff in our institutions.
”Stringent measures have been put in place to address this challenge and these include the branding of all medical products for the ministry, and the setting up of a task force on the pilferage of essential medicines,” Dr Kasonde said.
The task force comprised the Ministry of Health, Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission and the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority.
”This task force has undertaken operations in randomly selected districts and health facilities where huge amounts of Government medicines and medical supplies have been seized. Culprits have been arrested and charged accordingly,” he said.
On staff recruitment, Dr Kasonde said 511 nurses and paramedics from different institutions were dismissed following an illegal strike in November 2013, and that their appeal cases were being considered by the Public Service Commission as Government put a long-term measure to replace them.
He said Government last year recruited and posted 1,736 trained health professionals to health facilities countrywide.
and urged all the 978 students who passed the November and December 2013 nurses and midwives examinations to apply.