Poor Malawians will continue be plagued by drug shortages in public health following the revelation Ministry of Health has made that it cannot manage to raise K28 billion which is a grid amount of money required to buy essential drugs.
It is common to see poor Malawians being given prescriptions only from public hospital so that they can buy drugs to private pharmacies from their own purse while Malawi Parliament is allocating billions of Malawi Kwacha to the healthy budget.
Health activist who is also executive director for Malawi Health Equity Network (MEHN), Martha Kwataine said it is unacceptable that government is spending billions of Malawi Kwacha in purchasing expensive vehicles like VX and V8 at the expense of filling hospital shelves with drugs.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Chris Kang’ombe told Sunday Times that Government cannot afford to source K28 billion which is a drug annual requirement (DAR).
“After quantification to see how much we needed to meet essential medicines for one financial year we (discovered that we needed) K28 billion. But we couldn’t afford that,” said Kang’ombe.
Kang’ombe revealed that the Ministry was allocated K16 billion to buy drugs for the last financial year but treasury did not remit the whole lot because of the ‘cashgate’ corruption scandal woes.
Malawi Watch Executive Director, Billy Banda, accuses government of lacking interest in dealing with drug shortage.
Malawi hospitals are always filled by poor people while the ‘privileged class’ go in private hospitals.
One of the Member of Parliament during the recent seating accused government of failing to address drug shortage because they do not access public clinics.
Law experts aid the drug shortage violates, among other rights, the rights of Malawians to health, life and dignity; hence, should not continue.