Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) believes the online ordering of medicines and medical supplies will curb cases of drug theft and pilferage.
CMST chief executive officer (CEO) Feston Kaupa said this in an interview in Blantyre yesterday on the sidelines of a two-day orientation programme for district health officers (DHOs) and pharmacy staff on online ordering for medicines and medical supplies.
He said while it remains a hospital’s responsibility to follow the delivery of medicine when collecting the same from CMST, the online system will be alerting the hospital system once collection has been made.
Kaupa also made reference to Chiradzulu District Hospital where drugs worth K10 million were collected from the CMST Regional Medical Stores (South) by a driver and a pharmacy technician in April this year, but the supplies never reached the intended beneficiaries.
He said: “In the Chiradzulu case, a requisition was made at Chiradzulu and they drove to our regional stores in the South with their order. The order was processed there and the vehicle collected the supplies. Unfortunately, we hear the supplies never reached the hospital.
“However, this [online] system will also provide database to follow the order online real time. And had it been that the online order had started at that time, the regional stores could have alerted Chiradzulu District Hospital that their vehicle had collected the orders as they had requested and had left the premises, and the order was closed.”
Kaupa said CMST’s regular and normal standard operating procedure is that it delivers medicines and medical supplies according to the hospital’s requisition and orders every month between the 10th and the 25th of the month.
Ministry of Health (MoH) director of pharmaceutical services Albert Khuwi, who represented Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume at the function, shared CMST’s sentiments, saying the online ordering of drugs stands to cut down on the amount of time and transport costs DHOs were spending in sending requisitions to CMST physically.
Khuwi said the issue of drug theft and pilferage is affecting the delivery of health services.
The orientation of the DHOs and pharmacy staff on online ordering for medicines and medical supplies is part of CMST implementation of its reforms that were approved by President Peter Mutharika on March 14 this year.
Kumpalume is on record as having said that drug theft and pilferage accounts for about K5 billion worth of drugs and medical supplies. He said MoH’s annual drug budget stood at K17 billion as of January this year.