Despite reports of rising cases of drug pilferage in public health facilities in the country, some healthcare workers in Balaka have demonstrated that it is possible to safeguard public resources to saves precious lives.
It is for this reason that on Friday morning, the Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo, travelled to the district to recognize and decorate some of the hospital staff who have diligently safeguarded hospital goods, especially medical drugs.
Mtambo described the special healthcare workers as true patriots.
“We all know 2020 was a harsh year due to Covid-19. Many Malawians lost their lives and jobs, schools were closed. And hospitals were rushed with patients who were infected by the coronavirus. This was the time true patriotism was shown by many people, which included front line workers and other private citizens who worked tirelessly to save lives of many Malawians,” he said.
He added: “We are here today to recognize one daughter of this nation who has shown her love for this nation by protecting the lives of our patients who, without medicines, could lose their lives in our hospitals.
“What our daughter did here in Balaka could save more lives if it is done across the nation. We need more like you in this nation.”
Development Communications Trust (DCT) organized the award ceremony in conjunction with the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Oxfam, among other partners.
Mtambo said drug theft is very serious in Malawi, stressing that since the establishment of Drug Theft Investigations Unit (DTIU) in the Ministry of Health in 2016, there have been 200 cases of which about 150 have been concluded and the culprits convicted.
The minister disclosed that the Ministry of Health, through the DTIU, conducted sensitization campaigns to health workers, police, magistrate courts and communities on drug theft issues more especially on the negative effects and impacts of drug theft in the country.
Mtambo said these are just, but, some measures that the government is taking to deal with the drug theft problem in the country.
“But the government cannot do this alone it needs people like our lady here to stop this malpractice, it needs the civil society to monitor and sensitize the masses on the evils of such malpractices. The government works with various development partners to contribute to substantial scaling-up of prevention and control of various diseases and interventions in Malawi. But it has been noted, those interventions are now at risk due to widespread theft of Government-provided drugs meant to be distributed to Malawian citizens free of charge.
“Our development partners who assist with drugs and other medical supplies in Malawi, become extremely concerned about any diversion of donated medicines that are meant to be freely prescribed to the people of Malawi. This theft and corruption are serious issues particularly since resources available to treat our patients are insufficient. We need drug theft to stop and we need the public to play a role in identifying it, reporting it, and holding the people responsible accountable,” said Mtambo.
DCT Executive Director Prince Mtelera assured of the CSO’s commitment to collaborating with the government in tackling abuse of resources in public health facilities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :