Malawi on auto pilot? Of severe drug shortages: Comrade Chipuba’s column

Dear Readers, I will be your comrade on Nyasa Times. My name is Comrade Chipuba; I am a global citizen with interest in Malawian affairs. That’s so about introductions, the statement below bothered me:

President Mutharika

President Mutharika

“The only problem is that I don’t know where the drugs are being stocked currently, but I am sure something is wrong somewhere”, President Peter Mutharika said at a development rally held at Ndirande Malabada constituency in Blantyre, recently, as a response to media reports of drug shortages in selected districts.

The CEO of Malawi, bought drugs for use in hospitals, so that children don’t die before attaining the age of 5, so that mothers are able to deliver living babies, so that ARVs are readily available in hospitals, so that Malaria doesn’t kill the citizenry. The country’s CEO spent, on our behalf, a couple of tax payers billions on drugs. Now he says, he has heard about the drug shortages and unavoidable deaths emanating from the shortage, but doesn’t know where the drugs are being stocked.

Whatever else I may have been stuck for; I have not been stuck for truth as Mr. Chipuba – I would be the last person to disbelieve sentiments that Malawi is on auto pilot.

The man Malawians employed to manage their health, will let people continue dying in hospitals because the drugs he bought using money from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) are stocked at a place he is unaware of and therefore cannot explain the drugs shortage to the citizenry.  This makes the job of MRA in collecting taxes quite difficult because voluntary tax payment is premised on trust; that money collected will not be a subject of cashgate or disappeared drugs. How do you expect to convince a citizen to pay taxes when their families cannot access pain killer at public hospitals?

The Malabada statement doesn’t sound like someone is in control, or has Malawi become a Google car that doesn’t need a pilot?  But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, expediency and political security. It is the call of conscience. I hope Mr. President’s conscience is clear on drugs and its implications on human life.

Mother Teresa once said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  If I were the President, I was going to acknowledge the pain people are going through as a result of the drug shortage, show that there have been unavoidable funerals, pre-mature deaths, severe suffering in hospitals and a cause for frustrations to health personnel- who are witnessing everyday avoidable deaths.

Thereafter, I would commit and promise drug availability but telling citizens of his ignorance on the whereabouts of the drugs. The integrity downside of some officials is back office stuff as they call it in Banking or backroom stuff as they call in football or behind-the-curtain stuff as they call it in theatre.

He should have spoken with great love on drugs as Mother Theresa decried, considering the impact on masses but also remembering that he only got 36.4 % of the votes cast last year. He has a job to do to increase affinity for his weak personal and party brands. This was a time to a visit one or two district hospitals mentioned in reports and make a statement that sounds like someone loves his citizens.

It is quite evident the majority of patients cannot get treatment at public hospitals and doctors are rationing the few medicines available. But for the Head of State to feign ignorance is to say the least “unleadership”.  He was supposed to tell Malawians solutions put in place to arrest the shortage and not to address Malawians as though he were a regional governor of an opposition party.

As back office stuff, the reforms team and capital hill should work on improving security in warehouses and ensure procurement and distribution systems are water tight.

Enjoy the rest of the week Mr. President!

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18 thoughts on “Malawi on auto pilot? Of severe drug shortages: Comrade Chipuba’s column”

  1. That’s what happens when someone misquote the whole speech

  2. Malawiyano says:

    That’s it

  3. CONGO MAFIA says:

    Paja mburutu iyi inati “President has no job description”. Headless chicken that is what he is.

  4. zeze says:

    i dont think the minister of health is competent enough in this field. i call upon the high office to shaffle his cards again. lets move mwns to catch up with the time lost. God save the poor as it appears we have headless leaders.

  5. Zanga Phe Basi says:

    So Sapitwa is telling us that there is no coordination in our govt. How can the whole peesident go on a podium and express ignorance of the whereabouts of our hard earned drugs.

    I thought he shud have cross checked with the minister and say or allege what Jean Kalirani said later on.

    He doesnt kno what to do. He is completely out of self.

    Comrade Chipuba keep it up! Enawa ndi aziphudzitsi olwez busy marking grammar afterall nkhaniyi ayimva kale bwini.

  6. Charombanthu says:

    The writer of this article seems to have a very good and pertinent point to tell; but I think his or her writing leaves a lot to be desired and if this is a column that is here to stay, I am sorry that this is the last time I will ever read it unless you improve on your writing skills. Firstly, is your name Comrade Chipuba or you are using a pseudonym? Secondly, did you check the spellings and grammar of the article before submitting it for publication? e.g. I am not sure what “as back office stuff” in the last-but-one paragraph means. Did you mean to say “staff” may be? Or “where the drugs are being stocked…”. I miss the Muckracker!!!

  7. mmm says:

    Only 36% voted for him. 64% said NO.

  8. alarmson says:

    we may as well question the eligibility of this driver, considering the fact that the majority of Malawians know the monstrocity in this persona.

  9. batwa says:

    useless president surrounded by useless advisers.

  10. makito says:

    That you have normal people think like Sapitwa, it is mind boggling. Why do we even call ourselves a country?

  11. chimwemwe says:

    CEO and ODPP bloocking drugs purchases, hospitals alibe mankhwala tlipa autopilt

  12. Myao says:

    SAPITWA, the CEO garners all info before addressing a meeting, doesn’t this CEO have a Minister of Health, a million advisors to be wondering about where the medicines are?? He’d better remained quite about this than than displaying his zero knowledge about what he’s supposed to be doing.
    Am just wondering why up to date not even the min of health itself has bothered to check or follow up on the whereabouts of these medicines so as to help our President – that alone tells a story.

  13. vwapalala says:

    Ndizimenezo, tiyeni tiwonere limodzi paja mmati fisi amakwerapo. kkkkkkk

  14. Native says:

    Speed up the formulation of a directorate for pharmaceautical services, all issues related to medicines/drugs must be solved under the directorate. There are many able pharmacists in the civil service to solve these problems.

  15. Sapitwa says:

    I don’t know whether we should expect the President to become a Chief Operating Officer who should go to each and every drug store in our hospitals taking stock and ensuring policies and procedures are being adhered to. What he answered was based on a Health Policy befitting his level as a CEO of the country. He is to ensure drugs are procured and available at the drug stores. If people say there are no drugs in hospitals, then that makes him wonder where the drugs are stored if they are not in hospital drug stores hence his statement.
    It was later clarified by his Minister that drugs are being stolen from hospitals and now we know the reason for the shortage. We should now focus on the Minister to probe her on what measures she has put in place to solve the theft problem. We need investigative journalists who should feed us on what is breeding on the ground than give us news that has no substance except for bringing hatred on people.

  16. becks says:

    Mavuto awa enieni

  17. angoni apaphata says:

    Mavuto enieni. Tayankhula tatopa. Koma ayitu. Adzamuvoteranso…

  18. Wina Mpoto says:

    Peter is a aginominy to the country. tinabesa apa

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