Malawi Police nab suspected medical drug thief: Had US donated malaria drug

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.

Ministry of Health spokesman: Chikumbe says crackdown on drug theft in public hospitals

Ministry of Health spokesman: Chikumbe says crackdown on drug theft in public hospitals

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.

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20 thoughts on “Malawi Police nab suspected medical drug thief: Had US donated malaria drug”

  1. zonde chirwa says:

    the MoH should move very fast in proposing changes to the Penal Code dealing with penalties for the theft of medicines in our hospitals. As long as we have small fines and short prison sentences we are not going to deter people from pilfering medicines. I would have loved to hear that the Penal Code was being ammened during this seating of Parliament. we should also deal with those abetting or assisting pilferage of precius medicines because when drugs are stolen a lot of lives are lost

  2. Azungu amawonera patali,ku malawi aliyense wa ndale ndiwakuba ,koma kusagwida,motero ma subordinates onse akukopela their seniors.

  3. Zulu says:

    Atumbuka kuba muleke. Mukuononga dziko lathu.

  4. Mwethu says:

    Its obvious that drugs pilferage is not serious at CMS but in hospitals. So applauding the installation of CCTV cameras at CMS is not a solution to this problem at all because it is the medical staff at clinics, hospitals and health centres who collude with business people within their areas that steal the drugs.
    Imagine this story, has the CCTV camera at CMS helped capture the thief here? Malawians pena pake we have crazy planners. Wina wadyapo zake pa installation ya ma CCTV just to hoodwink the donors that they are doing smething while the real problem is somewhere else.

  5. Okhrana says:

    Dadaboma, may be ur afool, or ndiwe wakuba. Receiving little does nt warrant someone to steal, atumbuka mwachitika uli? A phiyo, lutepo, kasambala, ndhovi, soko, kalonga anali kulandira pachoko? Watsala iwe ukalowa utabanso

  6. Kenman says:

    cctv ngati ikulepheleka kukonzedwa ku state house kkkkkkk

  7. dadaboma says:

    What do you expect of poorly paid public workers? To take care of public resources when they themselves cannot be taken care of by govt? Forget. And the solution is neither CCTVs or arresting people. Just pay them well so they can feed on their salary and not subject them to temptations of stealing. If they cannot feed on their salary because it is too small, they will feed on the public resources under their charge. If you tell them to quit public service and seek better terms elsewhere you’re shooting yourself in the foot. They will not quit but stick around to feed on what is available to them, including medicines, cash, and even CCTVs. Malawi’s public workers are the least paid, and they can only be the most corrupt to survive. If govt thinks paying public workers well can collapse the economy of the country, let’s see if the country will survive with the current meager pay to it’s workers. Let’s see.

  8. This donor instituted action so that we are seen that we are doing something about it is total hypocrisy of highest order. We seen not willing to deal with wrong issues on our own. What kind of a country are we. Don’t we feel ashamed of these actions. Does it mean on our own we do not know what is right or wrong and what to do when one steals ?

    People are stealing drugs we do nothing until donor threatens, people stole tons of billions of kwacha we did nothing until donors pulled out, people are vandalising our forest nobody has been arrested in Chikangawa, in Dzalanyama, now Chimaliro forest and all those forest countrywide. Our borders with our neighbours are clearly marked deforestrated areas ! Are we not exposing ourselves as one of the most incompetent people. Is that what we really want to be associated with. We must search ourselves and ask what are we doing to stop this behaviour especially those of us incharge of this areas.

  9. kaka says:

    why back this thief. Chimutumbal ichiba chibuke ku rumphi koko cxhiye chibaghe. Chochifukwa mukakamila muma budindo

  10. concerned citizen says:

    Bwanji tizingogula mankhwala mzipatalamu? if we start paying for the medi then stores clerks will be careful. They’ll neva sale.
    Free med is quite tempting to those handling. Let us be at par with our nebas -pay hospital charges.

  11. Malawi wa Lero says:

    I concur with what other witers have said. Why is this arrest important because a donor rep has said something. A few months ago we had a thorough investgation by asome journalist on theft somewhere in Thyolo Mulanje area. We had an arrest by the police of some guy with drugs in Karonga. These were not the only reports on arrests on drugs. Is this government really doing its job. I am more and more stsrting to believe that DPP was voted into government by mostly thieves. It looks everybody is stealing including the police, lawyers etc.

  12. Kaligondo says:

    Koma amalawi manyazi tilibe paliponse nkhani ndi yakuba bansi choncho tingapite patsogolo?

  13. kudya says:

    Atuluka mawa amenewo! Adzabanso mudzawagwiranso nkuwasiya.wagwidwa coz taopsezedwa ndi Donor kuti asiya kuthandiza. Zausilu musamatinamize siife ana

  14. MAYIRA ISAAC says:

    Lole mwevibantu imwe nalyoli mwemukutugogela abapapi nabakamu bitu bonsi be bakufwa kuhayayuko. Ubuke kukwinyu ko uye wibilage amalembo po vivwe mwo chikubabila pala abakamu bako bakufwa. pala umwana wako atafuye lumo utangamanya mochikubabila.

  15. mphepo zinai says:

    The Malawi Judiciary is corrupt, incompetent and useless. Bola 2.5yrs but I am sure it will be suspended sentence.

    How can we fight crime with kid gloves snd expect to win.

  16. Zig says:

    While I applaud the police and all concerned for arresting the drug thief, I have reservations with the way the article has been written. For a moment I am made to believe that Malawian media is for donors and not Malawians. The drug budget is largely funded by our taxes. The article should have recognized that fact. The donors don’t solely fund the drug budget. Our primary concern as those is watch dog game should be our taxes.

  17. Moya says:

    Who will over see these cctvs? Where will the personnel be located? Hope not same premises. How will you make sure tapes don’t go missing? And if they go missing how soon can you tell? If they stop working how soon would you realize and how soon would they be repaired? Will black outs affect them or not? Until these are flawless the CCTVs are nothing but another waste of tax payers money

  18. darth sidious says:

    bravo police! and it only took one threat from the white folks. keep threatening us please, we want this rot to end.

  19. The Analyst says:

    Catching the thief is important but punishing him proportionately is even more important! What will our justice system do with this man? Slap him with a mere 2.5-year sentence! Watch!

    You think am just kidding? Remember the guys who were caught wanting to harvest the esophagus of live albinos in the eastern region? They were given a 2-year sentence! Akuti malamulo a ku Malawi amenewo! Very frustrating! Besides punishing the culprit, a sentence also serves to deter would-be-offenders but such leniency does not serve this purpose!

    !Kill one to warn a hundred.” – Chinese Proverb

    Make this guy an example! For once! And if Mtambo and his colleagues make noise, we will know they are mad, after all we already know they are! So don’t mind them!

    Otherwise, this fight is meaningless only with words.

  20. mtate mike rsa says:

    The pipo told this government long time but pitala said everything is undercontro, investors cannot come in the country becoz of insecurity he said everything is undercontro ok muthanyulas leadership style

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