Dear Readers, I will be your comrade on Nyasa Times. My name is Comrade Chipuba; I am a global citizen with interest in Malawian affairs. That’s so about introductions, the statement below bothered me:
“The only problem is that I don’t know where the drugs are being stocked currently, but I am sure something is wrong somewhere”, President Peter Mutharika said at a development rally held at Ndirande Malabada constituency in Blantyre, recently, as a response to media reports of drug shortages in selected districts.
The CEO of Malawi, bought drugs for use in hospitals, so that children don’t die before attaining the age of 5, so that mothers are able to deliver living babies, so that ARVs are readily available in hospitals, so that Malaria doesn’t kill the citizenry. The country’s CEO spent, on our behalf, a couple of tax payers billions on drugs. Now he says, he has heard about the drug shortages and unavoidable deaths emanating from the shortage, but doesn’t know where the drugs are being stocked.
Whatever else I may have been stuck for; I have not been stuck for truth as Mr. Chipuba – I would be the last person to disbelieve sentiments that Malawi is on auto pilot.
The man Malawians employed to manage their health, will let people continue dying in hospitals because the drugs he bought using money from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) are stocked at a place he is unaware of and therefore cannot explain the drugs shortage to the citizenry. This makes the job of MRA in collecting taxes quite difficult because voluntary tax payment is premised on trust; that money collected will not be a subject of cashgate or disappeared drugs. How do you expect to convince a citizen to pay taxes when their families cannot access pain killer at public hospitals?
The Malabada statement doesn’t sound like someone is in control, or has Malawi become a Google car that doesn’t need a pilot? But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, expediency and political security. It is the call of conscience. I hope Mr. President’s conscience is clear on drugs and its implications on human life.
Mother Teresa once said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” If I were the President, I was going to acknowledge the pain people are going through as a result of the drug shortage, show that there have been unavoidable funerals, pre-mature deaths, severe suffering in hospitals and a cause for frustrations to health personnel- who are witnessing everyday avoidable deaths.
Thereafter, I would commit and promise drug availability but telling citizens of his ignorance on the whereabouts of the drugs. The integrity downside of some officials is back office stuff as they call it in Banking or backroom stuff as they call in football or behind-the-curtain stuff as they call it in theatre.
He should have spoken with great love on drugs as Mother Theresa decried, considering the impact on masses but also remembering that he only got 36.4 % of the votes cast last year. He has a job to do to increase affinity for his weak personal and party brands. This was a time to a visit one or two district hospitals mentioned in reports and make a statement that sounds like someone loves his citizens.
It is quite evident the majority of patients cannot get treatment at public hospitals and doctors are rationing the few medicines available. But for the Head of State to feign ignorance is to say the least “unleadership”. He was supposed to tell Malawians solutions put in place to arrest the shortage and not to address Malawians as though he were a regional governor of an opposition party.
As back office stuff, the reforms team and capital hill should work on improving security in warehouses and ensure procurement and distribution systems are water tight.
Enjoy the rest of the week Mr. President!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :