US commits to ending drug theft

US commits to ending drug theft

The Government of the United States of America says it is committed to ensuring an end to drug pilferage in public hospitals to enable Malawians access quality health.

New US Ambassador David Young said security of drugs and medical supplies in the country is one of his priority areas during his tour of duty.

Young: This is one of my priority areas

He said: “The USA government is committed to making sure that every dollar that we spend is used well. As an ambassador, this is one of my priority areas and we are going to work closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that every dollar is used well.”

The envoy said this on Monday in response to questions from journalists when he paid a courtesy call on Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda.

Malawi is expected to get from the US Government about K250 billion support towards the fight against HIV and Aids, Covid-19, malaria and tuberculosis, among other diseases.

Young said K175 billion has to date been approved by the US government.

In response to the same question on security of drugs and medical supplies, the minister said the Malawi Government is also committed to ensuring that no drugs are lost through theft by hospital staff or any other person.

To achieve this, Chiponda said government is implementing a pilot drug management system at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe aimed at tightening loopholes in drug management and administration.

She said the system is expected to improve record keeping, data management and drug issuance as well as security as there are also closed circuit television cameras installed.

Chiponda said: “We are also talking to the Judiciary to ensure that those caught stealing drugs get the penalties they deserve. Drugs don’t come cheap and it will be very sad to be losing them just like that.”

According to a report posted on The Global Fund website in 2017 titled ‘Investigation of Drug Theft in Malawi’, drugs stolen from public hospitals in September 2015 were diverted to private clinics.

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