Member of Parliament for Mzimba west, Harry Mkandawire, accused Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume of having “no clue” on ending drug shortages in public hospitals noting the lives of Malawians are at risk.
Mkandawire said in parliament that last week, the Minister of Health, after delivering his speech MPs had “lots of questions” about the situation of medicine and food in the country but were stopped “just because the Minister was rushing to catch a plane to go somewhere where we don’t know. “
He said on Monday the lawmakers were told the miniter is not ready to give answers “and yet people are dying in hospitals. No drugs. And the Minister has no clue. He has nothing to tell this country. “
In his comment, Kumpalume said “a robust question, deserves a robust answer” saying he was ready to answer any question.
When Mkandawire rose to make “clarification” he was stopped by second deputy speaker Chiwaya, saying “ that issue has been disposed.”
Recently, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Acting National secretary, Martin Chiphwanya challenged the government and other concerned partners to ensure that the right to essential health services is granted to Malawian citizens by making sure that “adequate drug supply is also available in all public hospitals.”
He noted that at some instances, drugs could be available in hospitals but in most cases they are stolen and as a result poor people do not have access to medicine.
“People are dying to diseases that can easily be cured. Poor people are also feeling the pinch as they don’t have the financial muscle to buy the medicine from Pharmacies,” Chiphwanya said.
He added that “it is worrisome to note that in other cases, more especially in the villages, people are buying medicines in uncertified shops and pharmacies which is a big threat to their right to life.” Chiphwanya said, so far there seem to be no any punitive measures given to those caught in the act of stealing the medicine and in an event that culprits to this malpractice are caught, not heavy punishment is given to them as the society expects.