Dedza east parliamentrian Juliana Lunguzi of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has said it is disturbing that public hospitals have run out of drug budgets.
Lunguzi, a nurse by profession, said this in parliament when she was contributing on the mid year budget statement.
“This is serious, it is people who are suffering out there,” he said.
Mchinji south MP also said people were desperate for medicine in public hospitals but there were non.
However, Health minister Peter Kumpalume said it was not correct to say there were no drugs in hospitals because hospitals have run out of drug budgets.
“These are sweeping statements. I can challenge, take me anywhere where there is no medicinea, I will drive there,” he said.
This comes barely a day after The Sunday Times newspaper reported that there is a shortage of suxamethonium-one of the critical drugs used in anaesthetic procedures in operation theatres-has hit referral hospitals.
The newspaper says Mzuzu Central Hospital run out of the drug two weeks ago.
The drug is critical as it is used to kill pain during operations and the shortage is putting lives of patients in need of critical procedures, at risk.
Sources say patients booked for operations in the facilities are being turned back and engagement dates are being rescheduled mostly towards February end when it is anticipated that the critical drugs would be in stock.
An editorial comment in the newspaper says there is an urgent need to address the shortage of essential drugs, especially anaesthetic agents, which are out of stock at Mzuzu Central Hospital.
“It is worrisome to learn that despite the urgent need for new stock of drugs, the government is yet to address the problem two weeks after it was reported,” says editorial comment.
The comment further says the situation is life threatening considering the fact that waiting for too long before any procedure is done might lead to other complications.
It says challenges the public health facilities face are not quickly addressed because those making decisions rarely use such facilities therefore there is no connection with ordinary people.
“Indeed, when high profile officials are sick, they seek medical attention abroad. The fact that those entrusted to address the problems are detached from reality, the situation never improves,” reads the comment.
In conclusion, the comment urges the government to quickly address the problems at Mzuzu Central Hospital because many lives are at risk.
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