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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Tanzania to bypass medicine middlemen to reduce costs

DAR ES SALAAM (Xinhua) -- A Tanzanian senior official said on Friday the country planned to buy drugs directly from manufacturers bypassing middlemen blamed for the hiking of drugs costs.

“Buying drugs directly from manufacturers will help reduce the cost of the drugs,” Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

She said the government through the Medical Stores Department (MSD) has 73 contractual agreements with local and international pharmaceutical companies, a move that is expected to lower prices of drugs to a quarter of what most prices are quoted at present.

Mwalimu said the decision was part of the implementation of a directive by President John Magufuli to obtain medical drugs directly from manufacturers so as to reduce drugs costs and ensure improved drug availability in hospitals.

She added that implementation of the directive commenced at the start of the new financial year on July 1.

“Out of the manufacturers we have signed the contracts with, 10 of them are local while the rest are foreign firms,” said the minister.

Mwalimu said previously middlemen were central to the whole process of procurement, storage and supply of drugs, an arrangement now slipping into the dustbin of history.

Previously MSD was procuring medical drugs from about 20 countries including Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Mwalimu said a reduction in procurement costs will enhance the purchasing power of dispensaries and health centers to obtain bigger stock than at present.

The minister said out of the 73 contracts signed with manufactures, 46 firms were from Uganda, Denmark, China, France, Germany, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, India and Kenya as well as local drug manufacturers.

MSD will also purchase a range of equipment from other countries, she said.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Tanzania begins employing 3,000 health workers after mass dismissal

DAR ES SALAAM (Xinhua) -- The Tanzanian government said Friday it had issued permits to employ 3,000 health workers to fill the gap left after the country sacked thousands of medics in April over fake academic certificates.

“Employment process of the health workers will start next week,” Tanzanian Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu said in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Mwalimu was reacting to reports on Thursday in which regional medical officers appealed to the government to urgently employ 7,304 new health workers to fill the gap left by the sacked workers.

Leonard Subi, Chairman of Regional Medical Officers in Tanzania Mainland, said the 7,000-plus health workers should be employed promptly before the situation in hospitals was out of hand.

Mwalimu said the government will next year issue permits for employing other 4,000 health workers.

At least 7,000 health workers have been expelled since earlier this year after being discovered to have earned employment using fake academic certificates.

The saga left a shortage in the sector’s workforce reaching 49.5 percent, which is equivalent to half of the health workers needed.

In April, President John Magufuli sacked 9,932 workers who were found using fake certificates, mostly health workers, paralyzing medical delivery in dispensaries and hospitals across the country.

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Tanzania needs over 7,000 health workers to fill gap

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Regional medical officers in Tanzania on Thursday appealed to the government to urgently employ 7,304 new health workers to fill the gap left by workers sacked over fake academic certificates.

Leonard Subi, the Chairman of Regional Medical Officers in Tanzania Mainland, said the 7,000-plus health workers should be employed promptly before the situation in hospitals was out of hand.

Some 7,304 health workers were expelled earlier this year after being discovered to have earned employment using fake academic certificates, leaving a shortage in the sector’s workforce to reach 49.5 percent.

“The situation has gotten worse in dispensaries and health centers,” Subi said in a statement to George Simbachawene, Minister of State in the President’s Office in charge of Regional Administration and Local Government.

Subi said 285 dispensaries did not have skilled workers as they were now led by medical attendants, adding that 1,505 health centers have completely no clinical officers or clinical assistants and they were instead being led by nurses.

For his part, Simbachawene admitted that the provision of health services in the country was not encouraging enough.

Nevertheless, the minister assured medical officers that the government was paying attention to the matter by identifying non-efficient staff, who would give room to those with capability.

In April, Tanzanian President John Magufuli sacked 9,932 workers who were found using fake certificates, mostly health workers, paralyzing medical delivery in dispensaries and hospitals across the country.

 

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