Forex shortage hits chronic illness drug supply
DEPUTY Minister of Health Aldrin Musiiwa has said foreign currency shortages are affecting the availability of drugs for chronic illnesses.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Responding to a question from MDC-T legislator, Ruth Labode in the National Assembly yesterday on reports that essential drugs for chronic and non-communicable diseases were now in short supply, Musiiwa said: “It is an issue of great concern because we have shortages of foreign currency.
“We have told Treasury about it and they said they were going to prioritise the issue of essential drugs, and we have forwarded our list and have been promised that the foreign currency is going to be availed.”
He was also questioned by leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Thokozani Khupe on government policy regarding provision of sunscreen lotions and free treatment to albinos.
“I saw a patient with albinism, who is in a bad condition and is suffering from cancer. He was turned away from hospital because he could not pay $250. What is government policy with regards unemployed albinos in bad shape?” she asked.
Musiiwa said government policy does not preclude people from getting treatment, adding any case of patients being turned away must be reported.
“If such specific incidents are reported, those patients will be referred to cancer treatment centres,” he said.
On a question from Goromonzi West MP, Biata Nyamupinga on provision of mothers’ waiting shelters, Musiiwa said while donors provided funds to construct shelters in some areas, the money was not enough to build them at every rural area.
Spiwe Muchenje (MDC-T Proportional Representation MP) claimed pregnant women were being charged $70 to access mothers’ waiting shelters.