Covid-19 materials procurement centralised


Sindiso Mhlophe

THE government has moved to centralise the procurement of coronavirus (Covid-19)-related materials through the National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) in a bid to curb increasing corruption within its various institutions, the Daily News reports.

This comes as former Health minister Obadiah Moyo was fired and arrested on allegations of corruption with relation to the procurement of Covid-19 medicines and materials.

“Following reports of government institutions paying different prices for similar materials and, in some cases, purchasing sub-standard products, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has issued a circular centralising the procurement of all Covid-19 materials under Natpharm.

“Purchases of materials for internal use by departments are also covered by the directive,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing held in Harare last night.

Mutsvangwa said the government was concerned over the increased number of medical personnel getting infected by Covid-19, adding that the Health ministry would soon embark on a fact finding exercise.

More than 300 healthcare workers have been infected with the killer disease since the country recorded its first case in March this year.

Nurses, senior and junior doctors and other healthcare workers have since gone on strike over the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), poor remuneration and unavailability of medicines in the country’s public hospitals.

“Cabinet assures the public that the government is seized with improving working conditions for all its workers and is concerned by the high infection rate amongst frontline workers. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with support from developing partners, is working on a combined fact finding exercise, and continues to train health workers in infection prevention and control,” Mutsvangwa said.

“In relation to the reopening of schools for end-of-year examinations, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has developed a school by school database to track the level of preparedness for each and every primary and secondary school in terms of compliance with Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures that regulated the successful holding of the June 2020 mid-year examinations,” she added.

Mutsvangwa further indicated that Cabinet had considered and approved a proposed Livestock Growth Plan 2020-2025 which seeks to grow the livestock sector to a US$1,9 billion economy by 2025.

“The Government of Zimbabwe is cognisant that the livestock sector has to be run as a business to ensure that it makes a significant contribution to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic growth. In order to resolve the limiting factors in the livestock sector, collaboration amongst government, the private sector and development partners will be encouraged.’’

“Key strategies of the Livestock Development Plan entail the following: an animal nutrition programme; a genetics improvement programme; an animal health programme; a climate change adaptation and small stock programme; the development of market and trade infrastructure; and resource mobilization,” she said.

Newly appointed Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka added that the plan would go a long way in reviving the country’s livestock, given that the country lost 220 000 cattle between January and June this year due to various disease outbreaks.

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