Drug theft caused unnecessary deaths and disabilities, says Malawi health ministry

In a move aimed at reducing and controlling theft and mismanagement of drugs in public hospitals, the Ministry of Health has ordered all hospitals to use three locks system at their Pharmacy doors.

The three locks system is a strategy that allows different people to be involved so that the responsibility of the items in the pharmacy is managed by three people and not only one.

In an e-mail response to Malawi News Agency (Mana), Ministry of Health Spokesperson, Henry Chimbali said the three Locks system is an already established system that needed implementation at a wider scale.

Chimbali said the system is aimed at reducing and controlling theft and mismanagement of drugs at facilities.

Chimbali

Chimbali

“This is an old system that needed implementation. The primary impact is that not one person would be keeping the keys for the lock to the pharmacy or any other room where we keep drugs because that creates an opportunity for malpractices.

“We would want three different people to be involved so that the responsibility of the items in the pharmacy is managed by three people and not only one,” said Chimbali.

He added, “We have advised all facilities to use this approach and we expect every health facility to have three locks and keys for each lock kept by a different person.”

Chimbali said though it is difficult to estimate how much the Ministry of health had lost or to know the substantial amount of drugs stolen due to drug theft in 2012, the Ministry of health knows that substantial amount of drugs were stolen and misused which led to unnecessary deaths and disabilities on Malawians.

He therefore expressed hope that the new strategy will reduce drug theft and promote accountability and transparency in managing drugs in all public hospitals.

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