The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 24-25 September, 2018 hosted a delegation from the United Republic of Tanzania to discuss the implementation of the SADC Pooled Procurement of Pharmaceutical Services (SPPS), following the decision of the SADC Ministers of Health and Ministers Responsible for HIV and AIDS at their meeting in November 2017 to offer the hosting of SPPS to Tanzania through the country’s Medical Stores Department (MSD).
During the meeting the two teams from the SADC Secretariat and Tanzania, led by the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax and Permanent Secretary (Health) in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr. Mpoki M. Ulisubisya in Tanzania, observed a minute of silence in honour of the lives lost in the MV Nyerere ferry which capsized on Lake Victoria on 20 September, 2018, leading to the death of over 200 people.
In their remarks at the end of the two-day consultative meeting, H.E. Dr Tax and Dr Ulisubisya commended both teams for their diligent work, culminating in the concrete action plan to operationalise the SPPS in line with the decision of Ministers of Health, at their meeting held in Lilongwe, Malawi in November 2013 to set up pooled procurement services for the SADC Region.
The Medical Stores Department informed the meeting that, as of 19th September 2018, it had signed contracts with a total of 122 Manufacturers of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies and that, it expects a price reduction of, as much as, 40% for purchases that would be made by Member States through the pooled procurement. On average, the meeting noted, that MSD had purchased a total of health commodities worth USD500 million during the 2017/18 Financial Year.
The two parties agreed to develop an Operational Plan and draft a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Republic of Tanzania and SADC Secretariat to provide a framework for cooperation on the pharmaceutical pooled procurement which will, among others, assist Member States to share pricing and supplier information to enable them negotiate for better prices for high quality medicines from suppliers, thereby reducing the administrative cost of procurement significantly.
For sustainable funding of the procurement services of essential medicines and health commodities in the SADC region, the meeting agreed on, among others, mobilising resources from identified International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) to support the Pooled Procurement Services, specifically dedicated to support MSD directly.
The Team from the United Republic of Tanzania, included management of MSD and the SADC Secretariat team consisted of officials from the directorates of Social and Human Development (SHD) and Policy Planning and Resource Mobilisation (PPRM), and the Legal Unit. The two parties are expected to hold a follow-up meeting during the month of October, 2018 in the United Republic of Tanzania.