BY VENERANDA LANGA
HEALTH and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo was on Wednesday quizzed in Parliament by opposition legislators over First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s alleged interference at government enterprises such as Natpharm.
“The First Lady went on to direct Natpharm to the extent that she called the Health minister on a Sunday, together with his board to explain to her why there were shortages of drugs. Do private individuals have the capacity to simply go into Natpharm and direct how things should be done?” Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) asked Moyo?
Moyo defended the First Lady saying she was only a philanthropist and had personally sourced millions of dollars’ worth of equipment to assist the health sector.
“The First Lady’s work is philanthropic because she is the Ambassador of Health and Child Care as well as maternal health care and has done tremendous amount of work in that regard,” Moyo said.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Health she has managed to acquire expensive equipment through her foundation from America and Europe and there is no need to condemn the First Lady for her good work.”
He said there was no foreign currency to cater for hospital equipment in the country and the First Lady had assisted a lot.
Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC Alliance) then asked Moyo to explain the shortages of drugs and other medical utensils at public health institutions which have resulted in health workers threatening to go on strike in the next 14 days.
But Moyo said he would address the issues in a ministerial statement.
On acquisition of drugs and medical equipment, Moyo said there was need to identify partners on public-private partnership basis, and most likely the ones who have got foreign currency.
“This is something which is on-going and I would like to say that it will happen within the next three months because it is a process. We will have to go through the memorandum of understanding (MoU) route and eventually seek to see the capability and due diligence of the individual companies and then come up with MoUs, and that is the only way to go for us to be able to replenish our facilities on a continuous basis,” Moyo said.