Medical Stores Limited is set to separate from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and will be transformed into the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency.
IDC Group CEO Mr Mateyo Kaluba said the IDC was created with a mandate to supervise commercially oriented State-owned Enterprises to make them profitable and sustainable, and to increase value and return on investment for the shareholder, the Minister of Finance.
Mr Kaluba, who is the immediate past Chairman of the Medical Stores Interim Board, said the Minister of Finance transferred 29 State-owned Enterprises to IDC in 2015, which included the Medical Stores. He, however, said that after undertaking initial analysis of the portfolio, the mandate of Medical Stores did not resonate with that of the IDC.
“Its mandate is the procurement, storage and distribution of all essential drugs for Zambia’s public health sector, which is considered a public good. In that regard, that mandate could not synchronize with the mandate of the IDC. It is its responsibility to ensure that life-saving drugs are distributed to the public at the cost of the procurement borne by the government and other cooperating agencies that have been supporting the Ministry of Health,” he said, in remarks made on his behalf by IDC Chief Portfolio Officer Mr Henry Sakala at the inauguration of the new Medical Stores Board on Friday.
Mr Kaluba said, considering the mandates of the IDC and Medical Stores were at variance, it necessitated the separation of the company from the IDC and its conversion into a government agency. With the passing of the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency Bill of 2019, Medical Stores will be established as the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Health.
He said while awaiting the requisite process of the transformation to be complete, there was need for a Board of Directors to be put in place with the key mandate to ensure the successful transition of Medical Stores into the new Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency.
Mr Kaluba assured the new Board of the IDC’s full support throughout the transition. The new Board comprises Ms Kakulubelwa Mulalelo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health as the Chairperson, who will be deputed by Mr James Kapesa. Other members are Mrs Lizzie Mukwasa, Mr Mulenga Muleba, Mr Zubeir Mohammed Dasu, Mr Marlon Banda, Mrs Mwenya Bwalya and MSL Company Secretary Mr Aven Muvwende.
The Minister of Health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya, thanked the Board members for accepting to take up the responsibility of ensuring the smooth transition of Medical Stores into the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency.
“Medical Stores is a strategic institution that drives that medicines supply agenda to ensure access to safe and efficacious medicines for everyone, everywhere. The Board members have been carefully selected and reflect the competences, experiences and skills required to provide oversight to such a strategic institution. The role of this board is to manage the transition from Medical Stores,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said the Board would need to devise efficient procurement, storage and distribution methodologies to ensure the availability of medical supplies throughout the country.
“Health systems strengthening for universal health coverage and provision of primary health care requires that you structure a supply chain that has adequate budget for procurement, that has properly quantified products that people need, appropriate storage capacity, efficient distribution and availability of product at the last mile,” he said.