Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says government has 70 percent of essential drugs needed for health facilities across the country.
She said this in Lilongwe yesterday at a press briefing she addressed alongside Minister of Information and Digitisation Gospel Kazako on the outcome of the 75th World Health Assembly, emerging health issues in the country and infrastructure development in the health sector.
Chiponda said: “We have 70 percent of essential drugs in the country, meaning that people will not go to a health facility and come back without being assisted, especially considering that many people in Malawi walk long distances to access healthcare services.”
Cautioning against drug pilferage, the minister said the ministry has already sensitised health personnel on drug theft and that it will plant secret cameras to capture those involved in drug theft.
She also provided an update on the 75th World Health Assembly which she attended in Geneva, Switzerland from May 22 to 28 2022, saying the Malawi delegation held a number of pre-conference and side meetings with various partners.
Chiponda said Malawi has since signed a deal with Pfizer, a global pharmaceutical company, to supply Malawi with anti-cancer drugs at zero profit.
On infrastructure projects, she said President Lazarus Chakwera will soon launch a construction project of 55 health posts nationwide.
“A number of health centres have been completed and soon government will embark on a new project to construct eight health centres,” said Chiponda.
She also said of the current health facility projects, Phalombe is ready for use, Mponela Community Hospital is at 35 percent while Domasi Hospital is at 70 percent completion.
Acording to Chiponda, the ministry has obtained a no-objection from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) to establish four oxygen plants in Kasungu, Mzuzu, Mangochi and at Bwaila in Lilongwe.
“We were under pressure to supply oxygen for Covid-19 treatment, so we want to have our own oxygen plants so that when the need arises, we shouldn’t be under pressure again,” she said.
Meanwhile, health activist Maziko Matemba has said the health system needs restructuring, with more attention given to community hospitals and health centres where more people go.
“From her statement, I have observed a number of critical areas such as construction of health posts, the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Pfizer and the issue of pandemics,” he said.
Matemba said government needs to invest more in community or primary healthcare with a focus on prevention.
He also said the ministry should ensure that essential drugs are supplied adequately in health facilities and that the drugs are protected from pilferage.