Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malawi have asked government to ensure progress on the case where K48 million (about $133 333) worth of drugs meant for Chiradzulu District Hospital procured from Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) were not delivered to the health facility.
In a joint statement to government, several CSOs, including Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen), Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn), Centre for Social Concern (CfSC), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), are also urging Ministry of Health to ensure that drug pilferage audit queries implicating 10 district councils are addressed.
“We appreciate demonstrable steps on the anti-drug theft drive by including for prosecution of a Central Medical Stores Trust officer involved in the K48 million drug scam in Chiradzulu. However, government needs to ensure that all the people involved in the scam are brought to book.
“We [also] ask government to ensure that working security and legal structures and processes are in place at all times to curb drug pilferage cases,” said Mhen executive director Martha Kwataine in the statement.
Police in February arrested a pharmacy technician Martin Nyanjagha for allegedly forging documents and misappropriating drugs worth K48.7 million at Chiradzulu District Hospital. The incident happened at the time there is a drug crisis in the country with hospitals lacking 95 percent of essential drugs.
The Chiradzulu First Grade Magistrate’s Court recently granted Nyanjagha bail.
Chiradzulu Police spokesperson Ralph Makondetsa said Nyanjagha has worked at the hospital for only about three months, saying they found documents indicating purchase of various drugs that were, however, reportedly not delivered to the hospital.
In the statement, the CSOs also want government to take stringent measures to deal with drug pilferage in district hospitals.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali did not answer his phone on Thursday, but in an earlier interview with The Nation, he said the ministry is already implementing various measures to stop drug pilferage.