The United States Ambassador Virginia Palmer has assured Malawians of availability of enough stocks of anti-malaria drugs in the country.
However, government and health rights activists have attributed the current shortage to failure by health workers to comply with donor demands to tally the prescribed drugs to test kits, among others.
This comes against the background of shortage of anti-malaria drugs, particularly Lumefantrine Artemether (LA) in most of the country’s public health facilities despite the Ministry of Health insisting it has enough medicine in the warehouses.
Speaking on the sidelines of a private visit to Kwithu Kitchens in Mzuzu City yesterday, Palmer said the stocks will not run out.
“As far as I know, I do not anticipate any stock-out in the malaria drugs,” said Palmer.
She said Global Fund and the American government fund 95 percent of malaria drugs in the country.
Meanwhile, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe appealed to health officials to comply with the donor requirement as failure to account for the drugs is costing innocent lives.
“While we have enough stocks, people on the ground do not have access to these drugs, just because some health officials are failing to comply with donor conditions of tallying the drugs prescribed to the test kits,” he said.
According to Jobe, the officials might be deliberately frustrating the system to encourage drug theft.
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said it is not the ministry’s fault that some facilities do not have access to anti-malaria drugs.
According to Chikumbe, the country has enough stocks which will be dispatched only when the responsible officers comply with the conditions.
The US is a leading donor of malaria treatment drugs in the country which are meant to be freely prescribed to people.
The US government through the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund provides nearly all of the anti-malaria drugs and has so far invested over $200 million and $837 million by 2016.