Malawi Police in Chiradzulu have arrested a top most head of district public health services in connection with the theft of K10 million medical drugs.
Chiradzulu district police public relations officer Victoria Chirwa confirmed the arrest of Dr Sten Gift Chinomba, aged 30, from Mpowola Village in the area of Traditional Authority [T/A] Kuntumanji in Zomba. He was arrested on Monday.
The public relations officer said the police are questioning Chinomba in connection with the K10 million drug thefts at the hospital which serves people of Chiradzulu as well as some areas of Blantyre and Zomba.
His arrest follows the arrest of a driver and pharmicist at the hospital three weeks ago in connection with the theft.
Chinomba becomes the first district health officer in Malawi to be netted in connection with drug theft as in the past only juniors to the level of medical assistants or pharmacy personnel were the only ones arrested.
The arrest of Chinomba comes at a time when Malawians are expressing concern over acute shortages of medical drugs in public hospitals, including malaria drug, LA, which is supposed to be in abundance as it is donated by the US government.
Chinomba’s arrest also comes a month after the government interdicted 1000 health workers at Capital Hill, the seat of government for embezzling US funded K2.5 billion meant for HIV and AIDS programmes.
There suggestions from cooperating partners that the Ministry of Health should submit amendments to parliament on the Pharmacies, Medicines and Poisons Board Act in order to stiffen penalties for theft of medicine.
President Peter Mutharika said government has empowered hospitals and health advisory committees to ensure community ownership of supplies to reduce pilferage.
Malawi has a hotline which people can anonymously tip off authorities about cases of theft of malaria drugs in a drive to curb pilferage.
The hotlines 800 00 847 from land lines and 847 from mobile networks were jointly launched by the United States of America (USA) government through USaid and Global fund alongside Malawi Government.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :