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Drug Theft Remains Serious Challenge in Malawi

By Maston Kaiya

Ntcheu, October 15, Mana: The Controller for Internal Audit in the Ministry of Health, Davis Lore Tembo has described theft of drug and medical supplies in the country’s public hospitals as alarming as evidenced by high number of cases reported to police and presided over by courts.

Tembo made the remarks on Wednesday at the end of a daylong stakeholders meeting for Ntcheu District Council on curbing the malpractice in public health facilities.

“Drug theft is very serious in the country, since the establishment of Drug Theft Investigations Unit (DTIU) in the Ministry of Health in 2016 there are about 200 cases of which about 150 have been concluded and the culprits convicted,” he disclosed.

He further disclosed that DTIU conducted sensitisation campaigns to health workers, police, magistrate courts and communities on drug theft issues more especially on the negative effects and impacts of drug theft to the country.

While appreciating efforts being made by government to address the issue at hand, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), Executive Director, George Jobe observed that lack of branding on various medical supplies such as gloves and bandages among others is fuelling the vice.

“I can challenge everyone here to observe the gloves that are used in many salons across the country, you will notice that they are from our health facilities,” said Jobe.

He has since recommended that Malawian medicines and medicinal supplies must have a symbol for easy identification that they are public commodities if found on the market.

“MHEN advocates for custodial sentences to thieves of drugs and medicinal supplies as this [the malpractice] is the same as killing,” Jobe said.

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