The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), a social development arm of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has expressed worry over the continued food and drug shortage in the country’s Admarc deports and public hospitals, a development which puts lives of Malawians at risk.
CCJP acting national secretary, Martin Chiphwanya has since challenged government and other concerned partners to ensure that the right to food and essential health services is grantee to Malawian citizens by making sure that maize is available in Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) deports and that adequate drug supply is also available in all public hospitals.
He notes that at some instances, drugs could be available in hospitals but in most cases they are stolen and as a result poor people do not have access to medicine.
“People are dying to diseases that can easily be cured. Poor people are also feeling the pinch as they don’t have the financial muscle to buy the medicine from Pharmacies,” said Chiphwanya adding that “it is worrisome to note that in other cases, more especially in the villages, people are buying medicines in uncertified shops and pharmacies which is a big threat to their right to life”.
Chiphwanya said, so far there seem no any punitive measures given to those caught in the act of stealing the medicine and in an event that culprits to this malpractice are caught, not heavy punishment is given to them as the society expects.
“CCJP believes that life is very sacred and all efforts should be taken to make sure that people’s lives are not put at any risk,” he said.
On food shortage situation, CCJP calls upon government to take necessary measures to make sure that maize is readily available in all Admarc deports and that those who connive with Admarc deport officials should be brought to book.
“We urge the Police and sectors involved to perform their role by ensuring that there is safety for Malawians that go to Admarc deports to buy maize and that those vendors that buy maize dubiously should be arrested,” said Chiphwanya.
He also challenged politicians who are taking advantage of the scarcity of maize to stop conniving with Admarc officials and buy maize dubiously with the selfish minds to achieve their political ambitions by donating in various fora including hospitals and political meetings.
“For instance, in Chikwawa where we have received reports people are queuing up at Admarc depots for long hours, some even spending nights in order to buy maize grain. They are being allowed to purchase 20 kilograms per person. Currently at local markets a bag of 50kgs is selling at K13, 000 which is a pathetic situation to a poor person in the lower shire,” noted Chiphwanya.
Meanwhile, President Peter Mutharika in his state of national address on Wednesday this week has ordered the Police to track down and arrest all “criminal maize vendors” who connive with crooked Admarc officials to purchase subsidized maize at night and resell it to poor citizens at exorbitant prices.
Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (Cadecom), a relief and development arm of ECM is currently distributing relief food to hunger affected households in Thyolo as part of World Food Program.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :