Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ms Blandina Nyoni

The process to get a new supplier of HIV/Aids Rapid Test Kits in the country is undergoing requisite procedures, to make sure that only a reputable firm lands the tender, it has been said.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ over the weekend, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ms Blandina Nyoni, said that Medical Stores Department (MSD) was carefully handling the matter before presenting recommendations to the Ministry for final decisions.

Ms Nyoni added that a number of pharmaceutical companies have so far shown the interest to circulate the kits countrywide, and her ministry would make sure that all firms that have applied for the tender are well scrutinized. “We want to make sure that the testing is done professionally, and to the government’s expectations,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary was reacting to allegations by some local pharmaceutical companies, that there were doubts on the criteria being used by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in identifying a suitable supplier to replace the withdrawn South Korean Bioline HIV 1/2 3.0 company.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ recently, some citybased pharmaceutical company representatives had alleged that some officials at the Ministry of Health and Social Services were colluding with a major pharmacy in Dar es Salaam (name withheld) to make sure that the tender goes to the company of their choice.

“We are afraid that the whole process aimed at getting a new supplier of HIV/Aids rapid test kits in the country lacks transparency. We urge the ministry to follow the right tendering procedures,” said a city-based pharmacist who preferred anonymity.

Early this year, the Ministry of Health and Social Services announced the withdrawal of a South Korean HIV test kit from circulation, following warnings about its poor quality. In November last year, the UN World Health Organization removed the Standard Diagnostics Bioline® HIV 1/2 3.0 Rapid HIV Test Kit from its list of approved rapid test kits with immediate effect.

The alert was issued after Bioline failed quality assurance tests. Tanzania followed Kenya in issuing an immediate recall of all Bioline testing kits in the country.

By DEOGRATIAS MUSHI, Tanzania Daily News

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