No diabetes drugs at Malawi’s Queen Elizabeth Central hospital

Some patients, who are battling with Blood Pressure or diabetes and receive drugs at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, have expressed worry over continued unavailability of drugs for such incommunicable diseases at the facility’s pharmacy.

They are particularly in fear of increased risk of developing unforeseeable complications as most of them have now gone for over a month without receiving free essential drugs.

Some of them, with better financial muscle, are being asked to buy drugs elsewhere mostly in private pharmacies within the commercial city.

Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar).

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Patients with high blood sugar experience polyuria (frequent urination) and become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).

Ordinarily, diabetes clients from Blantyre and surrounding areas go to this referral hospital on Tuesdays and Fridays for medical checkups let alone drug prescriptions.

But the facility’s pharmacy has gone for close to two months without vital drugs such as Lisinopril, Hydrochlorothiazide and Metformin, among others.

A visit to the facility Tuesday  and health passports seen by Nyasa Times revealed that most clients who were prescribed such drugs on May 3 this year are yet to receive the drugs; they are only being given Aspirin.

“I came hoping that I would find the drugs. And this is the fourth time that I am going back home without the drugs.

“The development is no good to our health; if the situation persists, most patients will deteriorate,” said one of the patients found at the diabetes clinic.

One pharmacist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the facility’s OPDI pharmacy does not have the drugs and could not when tell when the hospital will be stocked with such drugs.

The pharmacist said they have been expecting for the drugs since last month and senior health officials are not forthcoming on the same.

“We have the drugs save for those that are given to sugar patients. Some patients think that we are deliberately hoarding the drugs and sell them elsewhere, but the truth of the matter is that there are no such drugs here,” he said.

Efforts to get hold of Henry Chimbali, who is the spokesperson of the ministry of health, regarding the matter proved futile as his mobile number could not be reached.

Diabetes Association of Malawi (DAM) calls on government to ensure there is a consistent supply of drugs in hospitals.

DAM president Timothy Mtambalika said the association is lobbying for support from the government to increase funding towards the disease.

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