The announcement by the head of the government drug procurement and distribution agency, Camerwa, that they were stuck with expired drugs should make everyone drop their jaws.
It is very likely that the expired drugs were a result of faulty planning by those concerned (Camerwa, Ministry of Health) and they need to answer many questions.
Do they mean to say that someone somewhere did not need the drugs before they expired? Highly unbelievable.
Do we have the luxury of being a wasteful nation to the extent of letting tonnes of essential medicines rot on the shelves of a government store? Definitely not.
A nation’s health hinges on the health of its people; a nation of sick people is a sick nation. That is why improved healthcare is one of the core elements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
So why is it not surprising to learn that halfway down the MDG road, Rwanda is on track to achieve all the goals except healthcare (mother and child mortality rates)?
Camerwa’s woes would be history if efficient planning would be undertaken before importing large quantities of unwanted (not needed) drugs.
It does not need a rocket scientist to realise that by now there must be a disease pattern (most common maladies) that should be based on before importing drugs.
The procurement should also plan to have a margin of error; why should we import large quantities of medicine with a very short shelf life? It does not make sense.
This drug calamity, if one could call it so, has hounded Camerwa for many years. It is not a new phenomenon. So why should successive administrators of the agency still think the same disastrous way?
Was it Benjamin Franklin who said that in a world where everyone thinks the same way, there are no thinkers? Let us not give him the satisfaction of proving his case.