MP’s doubts on causes of drug shortage

Kabelo Dipholo
NOT AMUSED: Moswaane

Govt must come clean – Moswaane

Francistown West Member of Parliament, Ignatius Moswaane, has accused the Botswana government and the Ministry of Health of toying with people’s lives by failing to provide appropriate health care for the sick.

The maverick MP was speaking out following MoH’s admission that there was a severe shortage of drugs linked to the deaths of chronic diseases patients such as diabetes, highblood pressure and cancer.

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The ministry’s short-term interventions of sourcing medication from the private sector has proved to be an expensive undertaking which has left thousands of the chronically-ill populace without medical care.

However, Moswaane has come out guns blazing demanding that the ministry should come clean and tell Batswana the truth.

Moswaane said he receives a number of complaints from his constituents who have gone for weeks without their chronic medication.

“If government does not have medication, how do you expect privately-owned pharmacies to have it,” asked Moswaane rhetorically.

“Chemists and all these private medical stores are not allowed to source medicines for themselves, they all order from Central Medical Stores, so if there’s shortage at CMS, where do you expect them to get medication,” Moswaane asked.

The legislator told The Voice that the biggest problem is the tendering process.

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“Government should tell us what happened to the previous supplier, and also show us the new supplier,” charged Moswaane.

The Francistown MP said the Ministerial Tender Committee controlled by the Office of the President is at the centre of delays in procurement.

“My suspicion is that whoever has won the tender does not have access to the medicine. It also appears that Botswana is struggling to secure contracts with medical suppliers,” Moswaane charged.

He said he suspects that President Masisi’s decision to source medical supplies from India and China, instead of the West as has been the case all these years, might be the reason for this predicament.

“If our current suppliers don’t have sole distributorship, we are in serious trouble,” he warned.

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Moswaane said he fears that while the government is playing hide and seek with its citizens, many will continue to die from illnesses that are easy to treat such as diarrhoea and blood pressure.

“How on earth do you fail to provide ORS to kids?”

“We’re in a crisis,” bellowed Moswaane.

“If an old woman goes for three weeks without her BP medication, chances are she’ll suffer a stroke, and the cause of her sudden death will be noted as ‘stroke’, but the real cause of death is lack of medical care,” charged Moswaane.

“We’re in a crisis,” he said.

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