Health minister Dr Peter Kumpalume - Drug shortage situation is dire

Health minister Dr Peter Kumpalume – Drug shortage situation is dire

LILONGWE (Tamanda Mwale, Malawi NewsNow)-Minister of Health, Dr Peter Kumpalume has admitted that government hospitals are experiencing critical shortages of medicines and that the situation has reached a critical tipping point.

Opposition and some government critics have been calling for President Peter Mutharika to resign for failing Malawians economically and socially, citing among other problems drug and maize shortage.

They say public hospitals are  becoming “waiting rooms for death.”

The Health Minister speaking in parliament  when he was reacting to concerns by parliamentarians who had noted that the problem of drug shortage in the country’s hospitals has not been resolved, said it is true majority of patients cannot get treatment at public hospitals and doctors are rationing the few medications they do have..

Kumpalume explained that the ministry’s efforts are not bearing fruits due to some health personnel who steal drugs from public hospitals.

“Indeed the country is experiencing acute shortage of drugs,” he said.

According to Kumpalume, the ministry used some of its allocation to procure drugs which have since been distributed to various hospitals across the country.

On patients’ meals,  Kumpalume said they have tried to make sure that patients should receive two meals a day, which he said is going well in all district hospitals except in Mulanje.

However, People’s Party financial spokesperson in the house Ralph Jooma insisted that drugs are still not available and asked the ministry to at least procure important drugs so that they should be available in hospitals.

Medical supplies are also in short supply – including syringes, cotton swabs and antiseptic.

But Kumpalume insists that the situation is cased by what he says is drug theft by medical workers.

He said medical workers collude with outsiders to deprive Malawians of the medicines.