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Construction of another Natpharm warehouse begins

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Construction of another Natpharm warehouse begins


Construction of another state-of-the-art National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) warehouse in Mutare has begun following the completion of a similar project in Harare.

Natpharm spokesperson Mr Munyaradzi Musiiwa said construction had already commenced and the project was expected to be completed within 12 months.

“Government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care has secured US$6 million funding from the Global Fund through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the construction of a 2 500 square metre warehouse in Mutare. The NatPharm Board has also made strides to secure land in Bindura, Mashonaland Central Province, and is planning to do the same in all the provinces where NatPharm does not have warehouses in line with the devolution initiative,” he said.

The move to construct warehouses is meant to minimise the outsourcing of storage facilities by the pharmaceutical company.

Natpharm procures medicines and medical supplies for all public health institutions and mission hospitals in Zimbabwe and needs proper storage facilities to ensure the safety and quality of supplies.

The company has six warehouses in Harare, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Gweru, Masvingo, and Mutare.

The new facility in Harare was funded through a US$25 million grant from the Chinese Government and will hold approximately 10 000 pallets of medicine.

Mr Musiiwa said plans to move to the new warehouse were in progress.

“The new warehouse which was donated to the Government Zimbabwe by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in now complete and ready for occupation. Plans are afoot to migrate from the current warehouse to the new infrastructure once the official handover is done,” he said.

The new warehouse is anticipated to make the recording, storage, and stock-taking easy. In addition, its systems will be computerised as opposed to the current manual setup.

Government has been looking at ways to stimulate local production of pharmaceutical products to reduce over-reliance on imports, which at times presents a huge risk to national health security.

Mr Musiiwa said there was speculation that the old warehouse in Harare might be converted into a manufacturing facility.

“In line with Government thrust under NDS1, local production of pharmaceuticals is being given high priority. There has however, not been any specific guidance that has been given by the shareholder. NatPharm is however, gearing for the opportunity to venture into manufacturing given that throughout the 1980s, it had functional production units for basic medicines,” he said.

Last year, the Government launched the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Strategy in Zimbabwe (2021-2025), which aims to double the production of essential drugs.

The five-year strategy seeks to build capacity within the pharmaceutical industry to increase local production of essential and affordable medicines.

The country’s pharmaceutical industry has been affected by low production due to the use of obsolete and antiquated equipment, cumbersome registration procedures, and limited innovation.

Government has expressed hope that the implementation of the Strategy will not only resolve these bottlenecks but also result in increased production of essential medicines for both domestic and export markets. Herald

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