Zimbabwe: U.S.$30 Million Medicines, Vaccines Up in Smoke


Medicines and vaccines worth over $30 million could have been saved if Mashonaland Central had modern firefighting equipment, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga said after a fire gutted the pharmacy at Shamva Hospital.

Mashonaland Central Civil Protection Unit has contributed $1 million to speed up work towards the new pharmacy building already under construction before the fire; that is and now at roof height. Normal services have resumed at the hospital following sourcing of medical supplies from sister hospitals and temporary space allocated in the complex.

The hospital is waiting for forensic investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Shamva district nursing officer Mr George Chitohwa said they were referring patients to Wadzanai Clinic while they wait for assistance from Natpharm .

“We had an electricity blackout yesterday and we were using solar power. Nurses on night duty heard a loud sound and looking through the window, realised that the pharmacy was engulfed in fire,” he said.

“The loud thud was caused by exploding refrigerator gases, People ran around but they didn’t have the capacity to put out the fire which was fuelled by sanitisers. We suspect that the changeover from solar to electricity caused the fault.

“Shamva Gold mine and Ashanti Mine were here first but the fire was intense. Harare Fire Brigade arrived within two hours and put out the fire, unfortunately nothing could be saved. We had 2 746 doses of Sinovac vaccines, 983 doses of Sinopharm vaccines and none of medicines in the pharmacy could be saved.”

The district development coordinator Mr White Nkoma said Shamva hospital is a referral centre for 18 health posts in the district.

Senator Mavhunga yesterday toured the pharmacy and expressed dismay at the lack of firefighting equipment in the province and said people helplessly watch property being destroyed by fire while waiting for assistance from Harare.

“We are happy that normal services have resumed at the hospital after medicines were sourced from sister hospitals in the province. We have come to assess the damage at the pharmacy and the civil protection has put together $1 million towards this disaster,” she said.

“Medicines over $30 million have been lost. We are waiting for a consignment from Natpharm today. The hospital was already constructing a new pharmacy through the Government and its partners. We are calling for an expedition of the construction.

“The maternity ward was partitioned to accommodate vaccines and immunisation will be done in tents outside. This is not an ideal situation during the rainy season.”

Provincial health service administrator Mr Pazwell Mwazungunya cost of lost medicines and vaccines totalled $30 million and they are putting together the cost for computers, refrigerators and equipment.

“The hospital was already constructing a new pharmacy but progress was stalled due to funding but recently funding was availed. Family health services, women and children’s wards have been moved and rearranged to accommodate medicines,” he said.

“We have adequate medicine and normal services have resumed. We dismissed the assumption that medicines were stolen because the pharmacy was secured with strong keys. The fire brigade had to break the locks to put out the fire.

“The province is not prepared to deal with fire disasters. Had fire tenders arrived early, medicines and vaccines could have been saved.”

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Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202111250573.html

Author : The Herald

Publish date : 2021-11-25 13:02:03

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