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Heads to roll at the Health ministry as report reveals loss of Sh27billion in drug scam

Tuesday March 02 2021
Gwajima pic

Health minister Dorothy Gwajima. PHOTO | file

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Heads will be rolling at the Health ministry as a probe committee has revealed that the government has lost up to Sh26.7 billion through unscrupulous deals in procurement and distribution of medicines and medical equipment.

The revelations, which were made public in Dar es Salaam yesterday, stem from the findings of a committee which was formed on February 1 with the mandate of investigating complaints regarding lack of medicines and medical equipment in government hospitals.

The committee has thus recommended that there be change on the management teams of those involved in the process and that a thorough investigation be conducted to identify those responsible for the losses.

The committee was established with the aim of finding out responses to complains that hospitals were lacking medicine and medical equipment despite the governing raising its procurement budget [for medicines and medical equipment] from Sh31 billion during the FY-2015/16 to Sh270 billion presently.

The committee found out that some equipment did not reach the intended health facilities while some medicines were being bought without approval from the drugs committee and as a result, some end up getting expired.

It (the committee) also found out that many hospitals lacked statistics on the number of patients who receive treatment under government’s exemption policy.

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Revealing the committee findings in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Health minister Dorothy Gwajima said the committee investigated 28 referral hospitals where it found out that the were a lot of negligence, theft and deliberate ignorance of procurement laws.

“We will work on all the issues as highlighted by the committee…we will leave no stone unturned….Our goal is to know how the drugs have been utilised,” she said

The committee has recommended that the Health Permanent Secretary should take disciplinary action against employees responsible for the loss. The government, Dr Gwajima said, will also review all the contracts for private suppliers who sell drugs and medical equipment with the goal of taking appropriate measures against those who will be found to be violating regulations.

The efficiency of boards of regional hospitals will also have to be put under the microscope and issue feedback to the Minister within two weeks.

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