DAR ES SALAAM: REFORMS made at the Medical Store Department (MSD) continue to pay off, with massive improvements in access to medicine and medical equipment, while cutting down the importation of drugs by engaging local manufacturers.
Presenting the agency performance report to editors, during a series of meetings organised by the Treasury Registrar Office (TR) in Dar es Salaam yesterday, MSD’s Director General, Mr Mavere Tukai, said that the availability of medicine and medical equipment increased from 51 per cent in June 2022 to 64 per cent in June 2023.
Mr Tukai said the procurement of medicines and medical equipment from local producers has increased from 14.1bn/- in 2021/22 to 39.77 bn/- in 2022/23, while the availability of drugs has reached 81 per cent in June 2023 from 57 per cent in June 2022.
“MSD’s strategy is to cut down the importation of medical products and to rely on local producers for products that meet the requirements and quality standards… MSD has initiated special tenders for local producers for them to bid, so as to encourage them to increase production capacity,” he noted
Speaking about MSD achievements in medical and medical equipment supply, Mr Tukai said the entity has strengthened the system by supplying medical products six (6) times a year (every two months) in 2022/23, instead of four (4) times a year (every three months) thus reducing the time of health centres waiting for medical products.
“We’ve secured 16 trucks worth 2.6bn/- to increase the speed of distribution and supply of medical products. This move significantly helped to speed up the distribution by 16 per cent, which also significantly increase earning from 320bn/- in 2021/22 to 373bn/- 2022/23,” he said, insisting that MSD reform matches the current demands.
He also said that MSD is using point of delivery (PoD) IT system, to ensure that medical products are received electronically in health centres and to enhance vehicle tracking using the systems.
“Internal reforms priority is stability of the entity. We make sure we don’t lose focus. We are required to come up with innovative ways to run commercially viable entity and make profit instead of solely depending on government subsidies.
“We have improved the management systems using IT including the vehicle management system and established a Subsidiary Company to be able to manage the production of medical products effectively” Mr Tuksi said.
The MSD boss said that the entity’s achievements are due to various reforms and funds timely disbursed by the government in the 2022/23 fiscal year to procure medical products.
“MSD received 190.3bn/- from the government in the 2022/23 financial year for the purchase of medical products compared to 134.9bn/- received in 2021/22,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Tukai said that MSD made the improvement of management systems on the procurement and supply of medical products and strengthened cooperation with stakeholders of the supply chain.
“MSD has been involving our embassies in China, Algeria, Russia and South Korea to conduct due diligence for the entity to secure the right partners for production and procurement of medicine and medical equipment,” he added.
He also said that MSD is using local and foreign stakeholders to increase the production of medical products in the country.
On the other hand, he said that MSD has been implementing various projects including the project for the procurement and supply of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services, (CEmONC)
“CEmONC is implemented in five phases in 284 service centres and a total of 345 devices are planned to be distributed, while 299 medical devices were distributed by June 2023, which is equivalent to 87 per cent,” he noted.
MSD’s DG said that the entity has successfully completed the construction of gloves factory in Idofi, Njombe Region.
The entity has been involving the private sector by identifying investment areas for strategic medical products including tablets, capsules, liquids and products derived from cotton. MSD boss also expressed commitment to cooperation with the private sector.
The entity has also completed the procedures for the registration and operation of the N95 mask factory in Keko, where its production will meet the demand for masks in the country.
MSD established a Subsidiary Company “MSD Medipharma Manufacturing Company Ltd” which will manage the production of medical products.
On the other hand, Mr Tukai said Tanzania has been using the joint procurement programme of Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries where the country has supplied health products worth 6.8bn/-.
He said the entity is still fulfilling the needs of Zambia and Malawi, while improving cooperation and increasing influence at the SADC Secretariat level and at the SADC countries level through Tanzanian embassies in the countries.