A joint operation by the Malawi Police Service and the Ministry of Health on Friday led to the arrest of two men who were allegedly operating medical clinics illegally in Nkhotakota.
Nkhunga Police spokesperson Ignatius Esau has identified the two as Edward Mkungula, 31, and Major Kaliofasi ,38, from traditional authorities (T/As) Chekucheku and Mlauli respectively in Neno.
He said the two were operating clinics at Dwambadzi and Liwaladzi trading centres.
“During the same operation, Charles Phiri, 50, who runs a clinic at Dwangwa Trading Centre, was also arrested after he was allegedly found with medical equipment/drugs without licence. He comes from Nyankhwenda Village, TA Mtwalo, Mzimba.
“The equipment/drugs included 10 packets of Artsunate injection and one packet of latex powdered medical examination gloves. The three will be charged with offences under Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act and will appear in court soon,” said Esau.
The arrests came just two days after the 2017/2018 Health Joint Annual Review Meeting on Wednesday.
During the review, Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi said he hoped that the National Health Policy (NHP) and the Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan would help improve management of healthcare resources and people.
“NHP will provide a long-term vision for our health sector, prioritise resources and guide the alignment of all healthcare initiatives. My Ministry is also reviewing and developing legislation to improve the governance of health service delivery and address the constraints we work within.
“Most notably, this includes the 1948 Public Health Act and the 2017 Pharmacy, Medicines Regulatory Authority Bill which will improve public health through better prevention-based activities, and governance of the management of medical drugs,” he said.
Last year, Ministry of Health (MoH) said about K1.5 billion worth of drugs had been stolen at various levels in the public health sector in 2016.
In May 2016, a report titled ‘Assessment of Drugs and Medical Supplies Leakages from Medical Stores and Public Health Facilities’ commissioned by MoH showed that a third of drug stocks in public hospitals were being lost through pilferage almost 10 years after the ministry suggested measures to curb drug theft.
Former Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume said K5 billion worth of drugs and medical supplies out of a MoH drug budget of K17 billion were stolen in the 2015/16 financial year.