Primary health care physicians and pharmacists have emphasised the need to have a strong public health sector as this will assist in reducing unnecessary deaths and physical disabilities due to late response from the health personnel.

The College of Primary Care Physicians of Zimbabwe and Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe held an annual joint congress at a Masvingo hotel where primary health care physicians and pharmacists raised concern over the shortage of resources, which is hampering service delivery in the country’s health sector.

The President of Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe, Mr Potiphar Mwendera said the government should prioritise building many primary health care facilities in marginalised areas of the country.

“We need personnel, drugs as well as proper infrastructure such as clinics. Without these, we are not able to provide quality healthcare services to the nation,” said Mr Mwandera.

College of Primary Care Physicians of Zimbabwe President, Dr Edward Chagonda said price disparities are a major challenge affecting the pharmaceutical industry.

“Price disparities are mainly caused by the disintegration in the supply chain. At the moment, prices of drugs are determined by how the drugs have been accessed. If the drugs are accessed directly from source markets, then the prices are most likely to be high,” Dr Chagonda said.

National Aids Council Acting CEO, Mr Raymond Yekeye said the shortage of foreign currency is affecting access to anti- retroviral drugs in the country.

“The shortage of foreign currency affects the supply chain management system. There are disruptions that occur when we order the ARVs and cannot get the forex to pay for the drugs. This also affects the people on this medication to a larger extent,” said Mr Yekeye.

The congress ran for two days under the theme: ‘Towards an Upper Middle Income Health Service Delivery, Tackling Perennial, Emerging and Re-emerging Health Challenges in Zimbabwe.’