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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MEDICAL STORE DEPARTMENT ‘SMILING’ AS NEARLY 40 TRUCKS OFFER BECKONS



By Pius Rugonzibwa

Mwanza — The Global Fund has sealed a support agreement under which it will offer 39 brand new trucks totally valued at 7.2bn/- to the Medical Stores Department (MSD), for facilitating smooth supply of drugs countrywide.


The boost comes in handy, as the drug supplying outfit has a critical shortage of trucks, and almost 70 per cent of the few it has are in very bad shape and would be grounded when the new ones are delivered.


MSD's Director of Logistics and Procurement, Mr Heri Mchunga, told the 'Daily News' that the envisaged fleet would be most helpful as they would reduce the transport problem by 50 per cent.


"We are in need of actually up to 60 new trucks to cover our all eight zones effectively and the support by the Global Fund has come at the right time when we are about to phase out our old fleet," he said. 

He said almost all zones are lined up as beneficiaries of the transportation improvement offer, but given its geographical conditions and size, the Lake Zone, and Mwanza Region in particular, would get a lion's share.


This would facilitate reliable access to all its 1,230 health facilities, as well as timely delivery of drugs. Mr Mchunga said the trucks include 11 Land cruiser Hardtop totally valued at 825m/-, and 11 five-ton ones worth 2.090bn/-.


The rest (tonnage in brackets) are eleven (10) worth 2.8bn/- and six (15) costing 1.56bn/-.


The MSD Acting Director of Customer Services and Zonal Operations, Mr Daudi Msasi, said the department was increasingly becoming financially stable and able to meet basic needs as well as maintain smooth supply of drugs, thanks to an increase in its budget by the parent ministry.


While the budget for drugs was roughly 30bn/- in the 2015/2016 financial year, the amount shot up drastically to 251bn/- the following year, which was enough to meet the demands of all zones, Mr Msasi said.


He explained, however, that, in spite of considerable improvement in the supply chain, MSD was still spending a lot of money on purchasing drugs from overseas. This, he pointed out, was occasioned by the limited production capacity of local manufacturers.


"This is one of the headaches we have yet to cure. We spend nearly 80 per cent of our budgetary allocation on purchasing drugs and other medical supplies from overseas. It is a worrying situation that must be remedied," he said.


High costs of production and lack of incentives are some of the factors that compromise local manufacturing capacity.


The country's only six factories produce a mere 20 per cent of the needs. 
Besides initiatives to improve the transportation sector, the institution also plans to undertake massive expansion of storage facilities in Iringa, Mtwara, and Mwanza zones, as well as the Muleba Sales Point.

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