BY JORDAN SIMEON-PHIRI
Two registered and professional bodies, the Association of Malawians Midwifes (AMAMI) and the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi have jointly bemoaned the acute shortage of drugs and essential medical supplies in public hospitals, forcing the two institutions to pen government and Malawians of good will to fundraise for the same.
In a statement dated January 10 co-signed by the two institutions presidents Mumuderanji Lipato and Shouts Simeza , AMAMI and NONM said the critical shortage of drugs and essential supplies is dire and has resulted into patients and expectant mothers receiving substandard treatment in public hospitals.
The statement reads in part: “We, Malawian nurses and Midwives have noted that currently there is acute shortage of drugs and essential supplies in all hospitals. We took an oath pledging that we will endeavour to practice our profession with conscience and dignity. We promised that the total health if our patients will be our first consideration. Presently, we are unable to live by our pledge for lakc of drugs, essential supplies and commodities.
“Our hospitals are in dire and crucial need of drugs such as lignocaine, a nerve blocking anesthetic agent. Other essential drugs include gentamycin, diclofenac injection, ephedrine, tetracyclin eye ointment, vitamins K and A, intravenous hydralazine, iodine, cidex, chlorhexidine and blood and blood products”.
The statement further laments that in view of the dire situation, Malawins are receiving substandard care more especially women in labour who are being sutured under mayomayo without the necessary anasthetic drugs.
“Surgical procedures are being delayed or postponed due to lack of blood and other essential life saving products. Malawians are dying from otherwise we preventable deaths,” further reads the statement.
In an interview, Simeza justified the statement, saying it is aimed at appealing to government, stakeholders and Malawians of good will to immediately join hands in soliciting drugs and essential supplies for the country’s hospitals.
He said: “Being deeply concerned with the dwindling state of the health care delivery system. That’s why AMAMI and NONM are jointly asking government, business community, the corporate world and individuals to join hands to solicit drugs.
“As a nation, let us not allow our people to die from preventable and curable illnesses. Our health workers are always willing and dedicated to offer the best of care but are currently hindered and hampered by lack of resources”.
In another interview, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) executive director George Jobe has appealed to government to take heed of the call, saying similar calls have been made before but government has failed to solve the situation to help the poor.
“The situation is not health at all. Our appeal is that government should listen and act swiflty to save the poor people who cannot afford to buy medicines in pharmacies. We want to see Central Medicals Stores Trust (CMST) that government recapitalized with K12.5 billion purchasing drugs and essential supplies that will in turn be made available in public hospitals,” he said.
However, the Ministry of health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the Ministry is aware of the shortage of some medicines and medical supplies in public health facilities across the country that has been caused by a number of factors that include low production levels of the commodities in India and other countries due to the impact of COVID-19 amongst global demand for the same.
“Inadequate of funding at CMST, theft of the medicines and medical supplies at various levels during storage, on transit and at health facility level.
“However, as a Ministry, we are trying all we can to ensure that public hospitals have adequate stocks of medicines and medical supplies. For instance, the State President ordered Treasury to release K12.5 billion to help recapitalise CMST,” he said.