Journalists Association Against AIDS (JournAIDS) has called for enhanced capacity building of the staff at the state-funded Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) in order for them to control debtors.
It is reported that districts and central hospitals own CMST an estimated MK4.4 billion, a situation JournAids fears could create a serious crisis in drug availability in the country.
A statement the association’s Programmes Manager Dingaan Mithi issued last week warns that, if not urgently addressed, this could impact CMST’s ability to procure and maintain the supply of medicines and medical supplies the key objective for the incorporation of Trust.
“This situation cannot continue and although stronger debtor control is needed the reality is that CMST has little capacity to enforce payment or to control the escalating debtor situation. Higher-level discussion concerning debtors control and district is on-going but frustrating,” reads part of the statement.
Mithi said access to medicines in Malawi is a serious challenge to both health and sustainable development.
“Over the years drug pilferage and drug stock outs have continued to haunt the country. The idea to be explored is premised on the need for the country to close all loopholes, tackle pilferage and corruption and make access to medicines easier and affordable.
“Another point is to reform policies, strengthening accountability using score cards and most importantly examining the drug supply chain and logistics.
“The idea is also conceptualized with a thinking that the local media has a huge potential in investigating corruption, tracking pilferage and holding policy makers accountable in reporting drug pilferage and combating stock outs,” he said.
As a member of the Universal Health Coverage Coalition and with support from Oxfam, JournAIDS is implementing a two-month media advocacy initiative called: “Enhancing policy advocacy for access to medicines and universal health coverage in Malawi”.
The initiative focuses on holding Government accountable in the implementation of the 2017-2022 Health Sector Strategic Plan on access to medicines and supplies and Universal Health Coverage.