The problems in the health sector continue to be scaling with continued reports of health personnel stealing drugs to sell to private businesses.
Police in Dedza district are keeping in custody two hospital personnel and a businessman for stealing medical drugs worth K800,000.
Deputy police publicist in the district constable Cassim Manda identified the hospital employees as 45 year-old Sifuliyano Nkhundula who works as a Pharmacy technician and 40 year-old Lameck Mbendera who works as a hospital driver while the businessman was identified as Victor Ulaya, 38.
According to Manda, police received tips from well-wishers that the vehicle with the registration number MZ2036 belonging to Nkhundula was using uncharted routes. Police followed the vehicle and they stopped it. Upon searching, they found cartons of assorted medical drugs.
Ulaya who is a vendor at Lizulu told the police that he collected the medical drugs from Mbendera who bought them from the pharmacist.
According to Manda, Ulaya will answer charges of illegal possession of medical drugs without licence contrary to section 35 subsection 1 of the Pharmacy Medicines and Poisons Act, Nkhundula will answer the charge of theft by public servant contrary to section 283 of the penal code while Mbendera will answer the charge of theft contrary to section 278 of penal code.
Manda however decried the behaviour of senior hospital workers who protect fellow medical workers and interferes with police investigations.
He gave an example of the current case whereby the value of medical drugs documented from Dedza District Hospital signed by senior hospital workers L. Kandiero and S. Chirwa was K394, 636.50 yet the Pharmacy Poison and Medicine Board said the exact price of the drugs was K831,263.
Manda also condemned the act of drug stealing saying it is not only a crime but also a violation of human rights since the country’s constitution provides that any person is entitled to access medical drugs in public hospitals. He warned all hospital personnel against being involved in the malpractice.
“It is unrealistic to those imposed to serve our nation to be involved in drug stealing,” said Manda. “Such kind of people are the ones on forefront talking of drug shortage to the nation yet they are the ones who have stolen the drugs.”
Nkhundula comes from Sekani village T/A Lundu in Chikhwawa; Mbendera comes from Nchotseni village T/A Kanduku in Mwanza; while Ulaya hails from Kalilombwe village T/A Chakhumbura Ntcheu.