Malawi doctors want President Banda to intervene on drug shortage in hospitals

Doctors at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) have written Malawi President Joyce Banda raising alarm on the critical shortage of essential drugs and other medical supplies in the country’s hospitals.

There is a critical shortage of medicine and other essential medical supplies such as syringes, cotton and essential drugs, the situation which threatens lives of thousands of people seeking medical treatment in public health facilities.

In their letter, the doctors are asking the President to intervene to stop the public hospitals from becoming waiting rooms for death.

“Our patients deserve to be provided with the basic medications and supplies necessary for treatment in the public hospitals. Every day that we do not have these results in unnecessary suffering and death,” reads an ‘Open Letter to the President and the People of Malawi’, signed by concerned KCH doctors.

Kwataine: Urged

Kwataine: Need for quick intervention

At KCH and Malawi’s major referral hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in the commercial capital Blantyre,   just like other major government hospitals, patients are being turned back due to lack of drugs and in some instances, other hospitals are rationing the few supplies they have in store.

Speaking to the local media, KCH director Dr Nordeen Alide said government needs to address the situation as soon as possible.

”It is disappointing thing to see a lot people dying just because there is no medicine in our hospitals. The situation is not only critical at Kamuzu Central Hospital but in all hospitals across the country. The condition needs quick response,” said Dr. Alide.

According to the letter, the hospital has run out of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and vaccine drugs including antibiotics.

It is understood the drugs shortage follows the failure by Central Medical Stores to procure and supply the drugs into the country’s hospitals.

All specialists from the major hospitals are scheduled to meet with principal secretary for health on February 7 to discuss the issues.

Health advocacy NGO, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen), executive director Martha Kwataine has added her weight to the concerns of the doctors and appealed for quick intervention by the country’s leadership.

“The President must do something. This is life or death. We are in a crisis. Doctors going that far shows that the matters are very serious. We join them. Chances of striking are very high at the rate things are going in the health sector,” said Kwataine, as quoted by the press.

The shortage of drugs was not only felt by patients at main hospitals in the city but also at other public hospitals in the districts. One doctor said in most circumstance, they are “literally watching patients die of correctable illnesses.”

Government is on record to have pleaded for patience as it sorts out the mess created by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime under the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.

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