By Deogratias Mmana:
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is yet to start distributing 9.2 million Malaria Long- Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) to 25 districts of the country because the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) is still studying the contract.
Ironically, the mosquito nets have started arriving in the country and MoH officials are being forced to store them in empty warehouses meant for storage of drugs while waiting for PPDA to review the award of the contract.
Last year, Malaria hit 6.9 million people in the country, resulting in 2,500 deaths, according to the National Malaria Control Programme.
The LLINs campaign is supported by the Global Fund through MoH’s Project Implementation Unit to support the National Malaria Control Programme.
According to documents that we have seen, on June 25 2021, MoH officials wrote their PPDA counterparts requesting for a ‘No Objection’ to award the contract for the provision of logistics services— warehousing and transportation— of LLINs mass distribution campaign to Mulli Brothers Limited under reference number MOH/NCB/NC/GF-GAVI/2021/005.
“Some of the key undertakings in the campaign process are to procure the logistical services for the 13 cluster warehouses in strategic locations and transportation of the LLINs from the cluster warehouses to distribution sites, reverse logistics and security of all LLINs in warehouse and transit,” reads a letter signed by Secretary for Health Dr Charles Mwansambo addressed to the PPDA Director General.
In an interview, Deputy Director [Preventive Health Services] Responsible for Malaria, Dr Michael Kayange, said the roll-out of the campaign had been shifted from September and would start from mid- October to November but attributed the shift to the Covid pandemic.
Kayange said the 9.2 million nets started arriving in the country and were being kept in empty warehouses which are meant for drugs.
Asked about the contract, he said he had no idea as to who has been awarded.
“We are waiting for PPDA to review the documents. I have no idea [as to] who has been awarded,” Kayange said.
He said, last year, the country registered 6.9 million cases of malaria and 2,500 deaths.
“We do annual statistics; so, by end of last year, we registered 6.9 million cases and about 2,500 deaths. Each time we distribute nets through the mass campaign, we register a 30 percent reduction in cases and sustained reduction in deaths,” Kayange said.
On Sunday, PPDA Board Chairperson John Suzi Banda refused to comment on the status of the contract, saying his institution pays an officer who speaks to the media.
PPDA spokesperson Grace Thipa promised on Sunday to update us on the status of the contract and did not do so despite several reminders.