Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi has described a medical drugs and supplies stock level of 73 percent at the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) as a record high in terms of drug availability in the country.
The stock level has increased from 68 percent in December last year.
Speaking after touring CMST drug storage warehouses in Lilongwe, to appreciate the levels of medicines in the wake of the floods disaster that has hit the country and threatens to trigger increased drugs demand in some areas, Muluzi said CMST is prepared should the need arise.
He said: “I can confidently say that I am very comfortable with the level of preparedness by CMST and also making sure that there is better coordination with health facilities to ensure that there is better supply of medical supplies in the facilities in the flood hit areas.”
But the minister said there is still room for improvement in terms of the stock levels, to achieve the desirable level of at least 80 percent.
In his remarks, CMST director of finance and administration Washington Kaimvi said the trust is indeed set to support government in ensuring availability of drugs in the health facilities found in disaster hit areas.
He also said CMST is managing well the issue of expiry of drugs by “ensuring that the drugs that expire early are issued first as per our policy on the matter”.
In October last year, government admitted that the 2016/17 financial year was marred by drug shortages in public hospitals, a move officials said affected the Universal Health Coverage initiative.
Ministry of Health (MoH) principal secretary Dan Namarika explained that a 70 percent stock level means that 70 percent of the must-have drugs are available.
Drug pilferage is another setback in the chain.
In recent years, CMST has been financially stressed as government owed it over K12 billion.