Dedza District Health Office (DHO) says most drugs being sold in shops and markets by vendors are a health hazard as they are likely to be expired.
Dickson Majawa, a clinician at Chitowo Health Centre in the district on Thursday, said vendors do not have proper facilities for storing drugs, which renders the medicines ineffective or in worst cases turn them into poisonous substances that can be fatal.
Majawa was speaking during a meeting between staff from the health centre and members of Diamphwe Citizen Forum, a community pressure group established by National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) to monitor public service delivery in the area.
He said: “Drugs like antibiotics are sensitive and require proper handling to maintain their shelf life. Vendors are not familiar with such processes; hence, it is risky to buy drugs from them. Besides, vendors cannot tell whether drugs are in good condition or not.”
He was reacting to sentiments by Peter Moses, chairperson of the citizen forum, who said government drugs including LA (Lumefantrine Artemether), are being sold by vendors in the area.
Majawa said by buying drugs from vendors, the communities are promoting drug theft in public hospitals.
“Antibiotics and drugs like LA, penicillin, quinine, are all supposed to be given freely to you. Some of you already know this yet you go ahead and buy such drugs from vendors instead of reporting them to authorities,” he said.
Dedza Nice civic education officer Patrick Siwinda said the meeting was meant to provide a platform for brainstorming solutions to various challenges the facility faces. n