BY COSMAS CHIMALIRO, MANA
Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST), Herbert Chandilanga has said theft of drugs in health facilities need to be curbed at all cost as it poses a challenge to effective health service delivery.
He was speaking Tuesday in Mzuzu during a sensitization meeting of stakeholders that among others included medical staff, police and the media on their role in curbing theft of medicines and medical supplies.
Chandilanga said the aim of sensitization was to increase equitable access to and improve quality of health care services.
He said pilferage of drugs in public health facilities has denied Malawians the right to access health services hence putting their lives at risk.
The PRO pointed out that, “Due to theft, most hospitals have been operating without drugs. Patients have been advised to buy drugs from private pharmacies of which most of the patients fail to afford.
‘’Some medical supplies are quite expensive like dialysis machine for treating kidneys and if stolen it is difficult to replace as a result the patients are referred to private hospitals that can only be accessed by the well to do,’’ he said, adding that drug theft stretches the budget,” Chandilanga explained.
In a drive to fight theft, he said CMST has put measures in place notably tracking and monitoring movement of drugs and medical supplies from medical stores warehouses to public health facilities.
The PRO asked the stakeholders to sensitize the communities on the dangers of stealing drugs and reporting the cases of theft so that the vice is curbed.
District Nursing Officer for Mzimba North, Aubrey Banda said police have a crucial role in expediting investigations of drug theft so that those involved are prosecuted.