Malawi starts destroying drugs worth US2.3 million

Amid massive shortage of essential drugs in Malawian hospitals, the country’s Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) on Wednesday started destroying assorted drugs and supplies that got expired while in storage facilities.

CMST is boarding off the items worth US$2.3million (about MK1 billion), in the capital, Lilongwe, and the exercise is expected to take about two days.

Among the items, to be destroyed are tablets and capsules, injections, vaccines, galenicals, surgical dressings, sutures, surgical equipment, ophthalmic items, dispensary items, lab reagents, x-ray films and equipment, dental items, Global Fund items, TB Programme items and various others.

The expired drugs and supplies have accumulated over the years in the CMST warehouses since 2008 because wrong quantities were procured under political influence during late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.

Gotani Hara: Government working at reduce the drug stock-outs

An senior official from CMST, David Nungu told journalists in Lilongwe at the start of the boarding off exercise, there were several reasons why the drugs expired.

Among them, Nungu said was mis-procurement and change of use of some drugs as the country graduated from one type of medicine to the other.

He said once the exercise is done, CMST will quickly replenish the stores to ensure that there is enough drugs in the country’s hospitals.

Meanwhile, CMST says it is discussing with various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, Pharmacies, Medicines and Poisons Board [PMPB], Police, donors and the Ministry of Finance on improving procurement procedures as well as distribution and monitoring systems.

Early this year, government came out of the cocoon to make a shocking revelation that the country had acute shortage of drugs after the CMST only remained with five percent of all the drugs needed in stock.

“I want to make it clear here that currently we are at approximately 95 percent stock out of medicines and supplies at the Central Medical Stores. This means, we only have 5 percent of all the needed medicines and supplies for our public hospitals,” Minister of Health, Catherine Gotani Hara, told The Nation while adding that the last largest procurement of medicines and medical supplies Malawi made was in October 2009 which was only enough to last 12 months.

The development (drug shortage) forced some doctors at the Kamuzu Central Hospital, Malawi’s major referral to petition President Joyce Banda to urgently intervene on the matter.

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