Malawi’s government hospitals are experiencing critical shortages of medicines putting the health of patients at risk forcing some hospitals to turn patients away.
Health Rights Education Programme (HREP) executive director Maziko Matemba, has since said the lack of drugs posed a danger to the citizenry.
According to published report, some of the worst affected district hospitals are asking for medical supplies from rural health centres and clinics and that the capacity of the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) in ensuring the availability and regular supply of drugs, has been put into question.
According to Daily Times report, most of the drugs that are unavailable in several district hospitals are pain killers, antibiotics, anti-malaria drugs and contraceptive commodities.
“For metronidazole injectable, it’s over two months out of stock. This is an essential drug used more often on obstetric postoperative cases. Amoxicillin is out of stock at the moment whilst the supply of benzyl penicillin is always erratic and we usually don’t get the quantities which we require,” Kasungu District Health Officer (DHO), Jerome Nkhambule told the newspaper.
Nkhambule added that dental the district has stopped offering teeth extraction services as lignocaine has not been available since November
Balaka DHO Bertha Maseko said the drug shortage challenge has been dogging the hospital over the past two months.
“We are running out of stock of many types of drugs, including pain killers, contraceptives and antibiotics like benzyl penicillin as well as drugs for mentally disturbed patients,” Maseko explained.
She said the district has been requesting for all types of drugs but they are not been provided in time.
Parliament allocated the Ministry of Health being allocated K70 billion of which K17 billion was meant for drug procurement.
Drug shortages in Malawi’s public hospitals are nothing new. But, health authorities say the situation has reached a critical tipping point. The majority of patients cannot get treatment at public hospitals and doctors are rationing the few medications they do have.
Health Rights Education Programme (HREP) executive director Maziko Matemba bemoaned the drug shortage situation, saying it is taking place after the Ministry of Health in conjunction with some partners a few years ago conducted studies on national drug quantification and leakage.
“The study recommended that the government needs to adopt in reducing incidences of medicines stock out that the country regular faces which included scaling up medicines/drug financing,” he is quoted by Daily Times.
Matemba said the Ministry of Health should revisit the previous arrangement of involving local drug suppliers as gap fillers in the medicines supply chain in an effort to address the shortages.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :