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Drug shortage badly impacting people's right to quality health services Drug shortage badly impacting people's right to quality health services Image sourced at village reach.org

Health Rights Campaigners Call For Boost in Budgetary Support

Written by  Written by Blessings KANG'OMBE Feb 20, 2017

Health rights campaigners are calling on government to increase budgetary support for essential drugs.

They add that these have become critical for the country.

This comes after the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe presented the mid-year budget statement.

The advocates include the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), Oxfam and Medecins San Frontiers (MSF).

According to a statement that Capital Fm has seen, the findings of a recent survey conducted in eight districts with district health officers and members of the community painted a bleak picture of how drug shortage is impacting people’s right to access quality health services.

People in the districts of Nkhotakota, Ntcheu and Lilongwe revealed that they are resorting to traditional medicines or going to private clinics as well as pharmacies because of chronic drug shortages in public health facilities.

According to the Ministry of Health, a number of districts in Malawi had overspent their allocations for funding for medical drugs and medical supplies by December 2016.

MHEN Executive Director George Jobe disclosed that the overall budget allocation for drugs is simply not enough to ensure the provision of essential health services to all Malawians.

Jobe stated that the 2016/17 Budget provided  MK17.4 billion for drugs and of this, MK 10.2 billion was for medicines and medical supplies for the districts.

He adds that for instance, percentage of budget drawdown’s by 31 December 2016 were over 70% for Karonga and Mangochi, 72% Dedza, 94% Kasungu, 72% Nsanje, 94% Lilongwe, 74% Mchinji, 72% Nkhotakota and 82% Ntcheu district respectively.

However, analysis by an MSF health economist based on drug stock out information in Nsanje district found that the budget required for drugs and medical supplies was nearly double what they had received.

MSF’s calculations based on the consumption method found that Nsanje district required MK 418.8 million for its drugs and medical supplies but for the 2016/17 year had only received MK 236 million.

Though funding was raised overtime, it has not tallied with the increasing prices of medical supplies.

The advocates are stressing that a boost in the allocation will address the problems people come across at public health centers in the country.

Furthermore, they say there was need for an increase in the availability of pharmaceutical human resources at all levels of the health system and increase transparency and accountability of the drugs supply chain, holding pharmacy personnel accountable for commodities to stop drug leakage.

They also recommends for an improvement in record keeping in facilities, including out-patient departments to ensure drug consumption matches patient data and rational drug usage among other recommendations.

Last modified on Monday, 20 February 2017 09:47

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