Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) has pumped in about K10 billion (about $25m) into Malawi to buy drugs for the next six to nine months.
Malawi’s Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali said last week the drugs, which will cover primary, secondary and tertiary health care, have already begun arriving in the country.
Chimbali was responding to a question from journalists on government’s preparedness to resume supplying drugs to hospitals and health centres through the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) at the phasing out of an emergency drug supply kits programme next month.
Government has for the past 18 months been supplying the kits in conjunction with donors—Germany, Norway and Britain—to ease the drug shortages of primary health-care medicines and medical supplies in health facilities and also contribute to the recapitalisation of the trust.
“We still have some stocks from the kits programme that will be supplied until July or August before they completely phase out. Thereafter, we will begin the consignment from DfID,” said Chimbali.
Chimbali showed Nation on Sunday a statement from Sarah Sanyahumbi, head of DfID in Malawi, confirming that the procurement process has already begun.
She said the process covers two components, with the first one being the immediate emergency requirement for central hospitals.
Sanyahumbi said component two, which will be much larger, was for essential drugs and commodities and is planned to succeed the drug kit programme.
“Component two will serve the country’s need for essential drugs and commodity for an estimated nine to 12 months. Up to 80 percent of the drugs selected are from Malawi essential drugs list and provides for both primary and tertiary health-care requirements. Component two is the subject of an international competitive bidding tender which currently closes on May 28.
“Until the evaluation and contract awards are made, we are still in a confidential process with regards the information we can provide, but we can inform you that the major tender includes the same items as already mentioned [but in larger quantities] as well as antibiotics, painkillers, anti-malarials for pregnant women, vaccines, sutures, surgical and hospital equipment, dispensary items, X-ray films and equipment,” she said.
Sanyahumbi said all items will be shipped by air, sea or road freight as it is appropriate to obtain a balance between speed and value for money.
She also said the United Kingdom is happy to provide the support as part of its wider health programme in Malawi.