Chiradzulu District Hospital (DHO) on Thursday burnt expired drugs and medical equipment worth about K86 million.
The hospital’s spokesperson Ellen Ndhlovu said in an interview the burnt drugs and equipment had expired in 2004.
“The drugs and equipment we are burning expired in 2004. We have taken long to burn them because we were waiting for approval from the Ministry of Health,” she said.
Ndhlovu said before expired drugs and equipment are disposed of, there are procedures that are followed, including seeking the ministry’s approval.
She said most of the drugs were donations from international organisations.
“However, the absence of the National Drug Donation Policy some few years ago compounded the problem because partners would donate drugs that were of less use in the country’s hospitals,” she said.
She added that when such donations came, health officials would receive them as they did not have the liberty to choose the most needed drugs.
“Most of the burnt drugs were only used for a specific period because they treated diseases that are rare or outbreaks. Some of the drugs were donated at a time they were about to expire,” added Ndhlovu.
She said the National Drug Donation Policy, which is now in place, will empower hospitals to negotiate with partners and choose the drugs they need most within a month or a year.
Ndhlovu said the hospital’s management has intensified monitoring activities to ensure that the first drug consignment should be used first to circumvent the problem. n