By Daniel Chigundu
HEALTH and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa says most clinics in rural areas do not have refrigeration required for storing of vaccines for Rabbies.
According to Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba, most people in rural areas are asked to buy their own Rabbis vaccines when they are bitten by dogs but are unable to find the vaccines easily.
Honourable Chinotimba said the Health Minister must explain whether people are supposed to buy on their own or the Government is supposed to give people for free or to pay so that people get the vaccines
Responding to the questions, Minister Parirenyatwa said they have tried to stock the vaccines in rural areas but they are being let down by lack of fridges at clinics as most of them do not have power.
“I want to thank Honourable Chinotimba for his question. Many clinics do not have anti-rabbis vaccines. We tried to stock anti-rabbis vaccines in the district hospitals because they need cool temperatures like storing in refrigerators and in some clinics, there is no power.
“What we want is to have those anti-rabbis vaccines at all clinics but they have a very short life-span, so they might stay there for a long time without being utilised and they expire,” he said.
Speaking on the same issue Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda asked the Health minister to reveal what government was doing to ensure those vaccines are available in clinics so that they can be accessed by the ordinary Zimbabweans at affordable prices.
Minister Parirenyatwa in his response said “our policy is that in government institutions and in our clinics, most of the drugs that are put under what we call the EDLIZ or essential drug list should be available and they should be available so that the majority of our people can access them.
“We want them to access especially in the clinics, free of charge. We try very much to satisfy that EDLIZ – but sometimes because of constraints of resources, it is not always possible to get those drugs as we need them.
“The policy is that we should be able to have essential drugs in our clinics so that people do not get that burden of going to purchase from private pharmacies which may be very expensive because the private pharmacies themselves import those drugs privately and they put on their own markup.
“So, we prefer that all those essential drugs should be appropriately available in our institutions and subject to resources. This is actually our biggest impediment; the resources that we need to purchase the drugs that we need to fit in the EDLIZ list that we have so that the majority of our people can access those particular medicines,” he said.
The health is facing various challenges in Zimbabwe owing to poor funding by treasury despite the fact that the sector is supposed to get about 15 percent of the total budget in line with the Abuja Declaration on funding health.
Last year government did not provide resources for repairs and maintenance of equipment which resulted in major hospitals suspending major operations.
Most health-related challenges are expected to be addressed through the Public Health Bill which is currently before Parliament.