Patients in Karonga should brace for another tough year as authorities at the district hospital say they expect another drug shortage in the coming financial year which begins on July 1.
Speaking at a meeting last week, Karonga district health officer Phinias Mfune said just like in the 2015/16 financial year, the hospital has again been allocated K234 million for drugs.
He said this means the hospital will be expected to spend K19 million every month for its 19 health facilities.
Mfune said such an amount is not enough as the hospital requires at least K40 million a month.
“So, we will have to brace for another tough year unless we are advised on how best to use this funding.
“Otherwise, drugs will continue to be in short supply and the people should be aware of this,” he said.
The drug budget for the hospital in the 2015/16 financial year finished six months earlier.
Northern Region Zone health support officer Dr Owen Musopole said the district needs to be prudent in its expenditure if they are to avoid the drug shortage.
He said in some district hospitals there is no monitoring of budgets such that they just spend and resort to borrowing when they realise that the budget has been depleted within the year.
“As a district, they need to be serious in expenditure in the spirit of decentralisation,” he said.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) George Jobe said his organisation is lobbying government to increase the drug budget for districts which has been maintained at K10.2 billion. n