Francistown city councillors have vehemently called on the municipality and Members of Parliament to decentralise the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The call was deliberated during a full council meeting on Tuesday by councillors when responding to the Mayor Sylvia Muzila`s address. Muzila had cited shortage of doctors and drugs at health facilities and lack of transport for collecting medication and shortage of ambulances among some of the thorny issues that worry Francistown residents. Residents have appealed to the Mayor during her Kgotla meetings to bring back services to districts. Councillor for Phillip Matante East, Shadreck Nyeku said the solution to the problems lies with devolution of powers to the districts away from central government.
“It is very worrying that just recently MOH destroyed drugs worth P60 million because they had expired,” he said, adding that such wastage could be avoided by developing efficient distribution networks at district level. Devolution will also minimise the inconvenience patients suffer as a result of being sent from pillar to post in search of unavailable drugs in clinics. Phillip Matante West councillor, Biki Mbulawa said the situation is bad that patients are told to seek services from other clinics which have drugs even before they are attended to.
Somerset East Councillor Gunda Joe said decentralization is being delayed by workers who think being associated with Councils is demeaning. During 2011/2012 financial year the then assistant minister of MOH Gaotlhaetse Mathabaphiri revealed that the value of expired medicines at Central Medical Stores (CMS) was P21, 225, 700. The drugs were procured during the years between 2007 and 2010. MOH records showed at the time that government lost P8 million worth of drugs that expire annually.