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Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department (MSD) is working towards harmonization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) before it starts playing the role of sole distributor of essential medical supplies within the region, TPJ has learnt.

According to MSD Director General, Mr. Laurean Bwanakunu, harmonizing ICT facilities used in the 15 member states is the necessary first step as the technology is expected to be the key in ensuring access to procured medicines and medical supplies as well as increasing transparency in the related procurement process within the states. 

He told the media recently: "Currently the consultant appointed by SADC member states is working to complete harmonization of the technology after which, MSD would sign contracts with the states and commence work.”

He highlighted the importance of harmonizing the technology which each country would solely use when ordering supplies, by saying it would not be easy for MSD to do business with 15 countries each of which could be using a different ICT platform.

He said MSD would be able to centralize all relevant procurement processes, noting that despite the similarities of medical policies and public procurement legislation, SADC member states have different levels of pharmaceutical sector development and pharmaceutical service delivery.

Last year, during the launch of a pharmaceutical factory in Mwanza, the minister responsible for health, Ummy Mwalimu, mentioned that SADC member states had appointed Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department as the sole distributor of all essential medicines within the economic and trading block.

SADC member states are Tanzania, DRC, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwa, Namibia, Mauritius, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, and Seychelles.

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