Police in Chitipa have arrested a 53 old man on suspicion that he stole medical drugs from public hospital worth K900 000, just days after the US envoy to Malawi threatened her country would stop its malaria drug aid package unless theft is curbed.
Police said they were tipped by well wishers that Joel Msiska had assorted medical drugs including the US donated malaria drugs.
“We acted swiftly, we were prompt and we found him with assorted medicine, HIV testing kits, malaria test kits and some operation theatre equipment,” said Gladwell Simwaka, spokesperson for Chitipa police station.
Simwaka said Msiska will appear in court soon to answer medical drug related charges.
The arrest comes barely days after the US ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer threatened her country would pull out the malaria drug aid package if the government fails to control rampant malaria drugs in public hospitals which get 95 per cent of its malaria medicine from the US government.
At least 6.3 people were treated of malaria last year mostly children and pregnant women.
In his state of address on Friday in parliament, President Peter Mutharika said his administration has now declared total war with drug thieves and said theft cases of medical drugs in public hospitals has drastically gone down.
In a bid to combat rampant drug theft in public health facilities stores, the Ministry of Health is embarking the project in installing CCTV cameras which will enable authorities tracking down those in involved in the malpractice.
Adrian Chikumbe Ministry of Health (MoH)’s Spokesperson revealed that installation of CCTV cameras’ first phase started with Central Medical Stores which central hospitals will follow before rolling it out to all district hospitals.
“Malawi government is serious in combating drugs theft in public hospitals this is the reason we are embarking the long term project in installing CCTV cameras in all places our drugs are stored starting with Central Medical Stores which central hospitals will follow before it’s done in district hospitals.
“We cannot disclose the budget to this arrangement as discussions are still underway with the partner who has shown interest to help us to carry out this task. We are not doing this exercise in responding to the US Ambassador Virginia Palmer reaction on drug theft but rather a zeal and vigilant to end the malpractice,” assures Chikumbe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :