The Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) has announced that three globally renowned Indian companies have expressed interest in setting up pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Zambia.
ZAMMSA Director General, Billy Mweetwa, disclosed this at the conclusion of the discussions with Torrent Group, Path kits, and Akums Healthcare Limited on Friday in India.
Mweetwa said this could be part of the government’s solution to address drug shortages on a short-and long-term basis.
“We came on a mission to facilitate health centre kits but we were also looking at sustainability. In the short term, we are looking at where we can buy in bulk, at the reasonable price and with a reasonable lead time as well as quality. The pharmaceutical companies we have met are of global standing in terms of quality and their span,”he said.
Mweetwa said the interest from the three big companies to set base in Zambia is in line with the government’s agenda of localizing production for essential medicines.
“Convincing the big pharmaceutical companies to establish in Zambia means bringing jobs into the economy which in turn broadens the revenue base,” he said.
A team comprising Members of Parliament from the Parliamentary Committee on Health, ZAMMSA, and the Ministry of Health was in India for the pre-shipment inspection and witnessing the packing of the first consignment of the health center kits as well as engage with major producers and suppliers of drugs.
Welcoming the delegation, Zambia’s Acting High Commissioner to India, Deliwe Mumbi, said the Mission has been challenged, among other things, to ensure that one of the multispecialty hospitals in India sets up a facility in Zambia.
Mumbi has thanked the government for opening up the Office of the Counsellor which she says has been instrumental in engaging with health institutions in India.
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“So far, we have been doing well as a Mission and we thank the Government for opening the office of the Counsellor (Health) because it has made our work easier and more focused since we have a professional in that area leading our efforts,” she said.
Meanwhile, Counsellor, Professor Victor Mukonka said Vice President Mutale Nalumango’s visit to India last year and her engagements with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals has made it easy for the Mission to make significant engagements with health institutions that can help address the drug shortage in Zambia.
“We have engaged the two largest producers and suppliers of medicine together with the team from Zambia with the aim of convincing them to supply as well as invest in Zambia by establishing manufacturing industries and also making Zambia as the hub for the whole SADC region,” Mukonka said.
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