Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) is still operating with a shortage of 19 000 cubic metres storage space even after the inauguration of the new warehouse last November which added 3000 cubic metres to its existing storage space.
With the commissioning of the new warehouses, the storage capacity for CMST was increased from 8 000 to 11 000 cubic metres, which is still short for the required 30 000 cubic metres, according to the Chief Executive Officer for CMST, Feston Kaupa.
The CMST CEO was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a donation of three trucks which the trust has received from the World Bank through the Ministry of Health under the Nutrition Improvement Project.
Kaupa said to a greater extent, the efficiency of their operations in distributing medicines to various health centres and central hospitals in the country is compromised by inadequate storage space.
“If we are to manage all the commodities that are currently being managed in the parallel supply chain system which will be key in improving our compliance in the delivery of medicines, then we need extra storage space,” said Kaupa.
The 11 000 cubic metres storage space which CMST currently has includes its central warehouses, regional warehouses and its rented warehouses.
Kaupa has, however, indicated that they are engaged in discussions with government and its partners for the possibility of constructing additional warehouses to help deal with the problem of storage space.
Commenting on the donation of the three 34 ton trucks, he said the arrival of the vehicles will help ease the challenges that they have been facing in distribution of medicines and medical supplies.
“Distribution of medicines and medical supplies is a huge problem that the CMST has been grappling with. When the reform programme commenced in 2012 we had an old fleet of vehicles which were very difficult to run and maintain as it was very expensive.
“To the extent that we have, over the years, attempted to replace the old fleet with new ones but on our own with a very tight budget we could not have managed to replace the vehicles as timely as we would have wanted,” he said.
Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi also echoed the need for CMST to have additional storage space so that they are able to integrate the parallel supply chain system seamlessly with very little challenges.
“There are a number of efficiency gains that would be derived by having one integrated system, one national system for the supply of medicines throughout the country.
“It is something that is being looked at and being discussed with partners to see how, together with government, we can move forward to ensure that we support the vision of CMST of increasing storage capacity,” said Muluzi.
The Health Minister said the new trucks that CMST has received have come at the right time given the scale of work involved in dealing with the cholera situation and the ongoing health needs of the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :