Malawi patients dying from treatable diseases, no drugs –report

There are many patients dying from treatable conditions due to shortage of some essential drugs at Malawi’s largest referral hospital, QECH, according to a published report.

The Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) has confirmed the shortage of drugs at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH.  There were also reports of other shortage of drugs in other public hospitals in the country.

According to a report in Malawi’s flagship daily, The Nation,  doctors at QECH said “some patients are dying from treatable diseases.”

Quoting unnamed doctor, the paper reported that the hospital has had essential drug shortages for months and that they are worried certain drugs that are the mainstay of treatment of crucial diseases are not available.

No TB, essential drugs at QECH

The doctor said insulin for diabetic patients, ceftriaxone for severe sepsis and meningitis and anti-convulsants which are used to control seizures/convulsions are among the medicines out of stockBut Central Medical Stores have assured that they are doing everything possible to fastrack procurement of the drugs.

“While working hard to ensure long-term effective plans of procurement, the CMST is exploring emergency procurement through the Office of the Director of Public Procurement [ODPP],” CMST public relations officer Herbert Chandilanga is quoted saying.

“The ODPP has since granted CMST a ‘No Objection’, meaning that the Trust can go ahead with a restricted tendering method.”

Ministry of Health which is run by Vice President Khumbo Kachali has been faced with a number of problems with nurses threatening strike over pay and overtime allowances.

Last week some workers at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, locked out senior managers accusing them of abusing resources and deteriorating working conditions at the hospital.

The workers in  to a letter addressed to Vice-President and Minister of Health Khumbo Kachali, chief hospital administrator Thom Chisale, principal hospital administrator Margaret Kalanda, human resources officer Victoria Msiska and two accountants—Dalitso Nthala and Benelita Lusuwa.

One of the doctors who co-signed the petition said KCH management has for more than a year failed to fix air conditioning system in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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