Queens hospital rejects drug crisis: Ministry of Health says adequate supplies

Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) has dismissed assertions that they have been rocked with a severe drug crisis, saying they have enough drugs and other essentialities in stock to keep them going for the next three months.

Receiving a donation of drugs from OG Plastic Industries last Wednesday, head of department of medicines at QECH – referral hospital for the Southern Region in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre –    Dr Jane Mallewa mentioned of shortage of medicines and other equipment, a situation which was allegedly forcing doctors and other medical staff at the hospital to contribute money towards the purchasing of the same.

But while admitting that “the hospital does not have the drugs it needs,” QECH director Andrew Gonani brushed aside the fact that they were wallowing in a crisis.

Kang'ombe: No drug crisis
Kang’ombe: No drug crisis

“We’ve drugs which will last for the next three months. We’ve just received our monthly medical stock from the Central Medical Stores and donors,” Gonani told a news conference he  addressed together with deputy Tulipoka Soko, chief hospital administrator Themba Mhango, principal hospital administrator Gibson Mgwira, chief nursing officer Linley Chewere and procurement officer Paul Matandala.

He added: “But the hospital has never had enough drugs as it treats more patients than most hospitals.”

According to him, QECH works as a referral hospital, a district hospital and a health centre.

“It renders its services to quite a number of patients than expected,” he said.

Annually, the hospital treats up to 460 000 out patients and admits up to 100 000 patients, he explained.

He said that “we receive a lot of donations even from individuals and there is no problem if a doctor decides to give something that will make a difference in a patient’s life.”

The Ministry of Health (MoH)  in a media statement has since said government is receiving adequate medical supplies from its partners.

Principal Secretary in the MoH Chris Kang’ombe said, among other efforts, the Norwegian Government has helped  Malawi in providing to all public health facilities a medical kit containing 40 items comprising medicines such as antibiotics, painkillers and supplies such as gloves, masks, cannulas, syringes and catheters valued at K3.7 billion.

“The UK Government through DfID [Department for International Development] has provided K10.5 billion [£16.29 million] worth of essential medicines and medical supplies to all public facilities across Malawi for the next 18 months.

“The Central Medical Stores Trust [CMST] continues to procure medicines and medical supplies using their resources for Government health facilities to access. The current tender is worth $3.2 million,” said Kang’ombe.

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