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Health care system a death trap – Canisius Banda

By NATION REPORTER 

The current Health system in the country is a death trap because a citizen now has a high chance of dying from a curable condition under this UPND healthcare system, Dr Canisius Banda Patriotic Front (PF) Chairman for Health has said.

Dr Banda further says  that the supply chain of   life-saving commodities was both inconsistent and erratic.

“Inconsistent and erratic supply of health commodities in healthcare equals death for some patients. For a citizen to be offered the care that they require is now a matter of chance. Quality healthcare is now not guaranteed in our public health facilities,” he said.

He said Dr Christopher Kalila, a UPND Member of Parliament and the chairman of this Committee, concluded that the supply chain of essential medicines, surgical supplies and laboratory reagents is below par and worrisome.

Dr Banda said what was important to note was that though he was UPND, Dr Christopher Kalila had chosen, in defence of sanity and citizens, to speak the truth as he saw it.

He said the cancellation of the nine framework contracts, which was a key contributor to this crisis, was malicious and unwise.

Dr  Banda said emotions should not drive the health agenda in Zambia but objectivity and professionalism.

He said the cancellation is a governance scandal.

“What this report shows is that our healthcare system has collapsed. It has died. With only a 50% countrywide availability of these items, this also means that the failure rate of our health facilities to save a patient is high,” he said.

He said further, the finding that UPND’s ZAMMSA did not know the national annual needs of these commodities was extremely worrying.

Dr Banda said this meant that all procurements occurring at the moment were being done blindly which reflected quantification of failure. Now no one really knew exactly how much of each item Zambia needed per year. 

He said this was not surprising because innocent and competent civil servants, with capacities to collect commodity data, quantify and procure were all fired falsely blaming them for being partisan.

Dr Banda said this was what happened when the Civil Service was both politicised and run incompetently, the service suffers and people die.

He said the over 80% illegal expenditure on these commodities by health facilities as they seek to maintain quality in the care that they offer critically compromised other pillars of the healthcare delivery system.

He said the promise before the August 2021 elections was that, in pursuit of fiscal discipline, no minister under the UPND would drive a VX or expensive motor vehicle. 

“But today, not only do they drive these expensive cars but the UPND is also guilty of over-pricing government procurements, further defrauding and wasting people’s resources,” he said.

Dr Banda said as an example, one ministerial vehicle equals more than one facility utility vehicle and yet these health facilities had no transport for life-saving commodities.

He said the healthcare system was a matter of life and death. But as this report shows, the UPND does not care whether the citizens live or die. 

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