Indian doctors are in the country to assist in service delivery in various hospitals.
Leader of the delegation Dr Surya Narayana said the doctors are in the country on voluntary basis.
Dr Narayana said while in the country the team will see various patients at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
The leader of the delegation told us that the team has already treated 75 patients since they came into the country.
Also Speaking, Anjana Sivakumara Managing Director of a clinic which facilitated their trip, said their clinic management decided to bring in the experts after appeals by many patients who have been asking for specialized treatment.
“Our clinic Care Polyclinic has been receiving overwhelming requests asking us for specialized treatment so that is why you have been seeing these doctors have also been serving at KCH,” said Sivakumara.
Meanwhile, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Executive Director, George Jobe has commended the doctors for travelling in the country to assist patients.
Jobe said the doctors have come at the right time when the country is facing numerous health problems like shortage of drugs in our hospitals and human resource.
Jobe said Malawi will save a lot of forex which could have been used to access treatment in India.
Malawi is currently facing acute health problems ranging from drugs to human resource.
Just recently it was discovered that Malawians in search of good health, are resorting to seek assistance from traditional healers because the levels of drug shortage is worse in most parts of the country, esearch by health advocates which including; Malawi Health Equity Network, Oxfam and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), revealed.
According to the report which MHEN Executive Director Jobe has circulated, there is urgent need for Malawi Government to put extra resources towards procurement of essential drugs and medical supplies.
“A survey, by health advocates across 8 districts with District Health Officers, and interviews with community members has painted a bleak picture of how drug shortages are impacting on people’s equitable access to health services.
“Communities in the districts of Nkhotakota, Ntcheu and Lilongwe told us they were resorting to traditional medicines or going to private clinics or pharmacies because of chronic drug shortages at public health facilities,” reads part of the report.
According to the report, the health advocates are hoping that Parliamentarians will review the health budget and put some money.
“As Members of Parliament sit to receive the mid-year budget review we are expressing great expectation that the budget allocation for essential medicines and medical supplies will be increased as it has become a critical national need,” reads the report.
According to the report, one woman from Ntcheu said she even sold her household items to generate funds to buy medicine after she was told that there were no drugs at Champiti Health Centre.
“After I had gone to Champiti Health Centre for treatment for a bacterial infection, I was told they had run out of antibiotics. I was forced to sell some household items in order to buy the required medicine from a private pharmacy,” the woman said.
The report cited another case of Benga where Asthma patients had no opportunity to receive drugs for 12 months.
At Benga Health Centre in Nkhotakota district, health worker who told them that they have not been able to provide asthma medication for 12 months.
“Just last week I attended a patient who was having an asthma attack. The only first aid I could provide was an inhaler but we had no emergency drug to give her, unfortunately we lost her as we waited for the ambulance to come,” said the healtj worker.
In the report it is said that a number of districts in Malawi had overspent their allocations for funding for medicines and medical supplies by December 2016.
” Just recently, MOH issued a directive in January this year that the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) cannot provide drugs to the districts without authorization from the Ministry so what is clear is that the overall budget allocation for drugs is simply not enough to ensure the provision of essential health services to all Malawians,” explained George Jobe, Malawi Health Equity Network’s Executive Director.
Jobe addded: “The 2016/17 Budget provided 17.4 billion kwacha for drugs and of this 10.2 billion was for medicines and medical supplies for the districts. If you divide 10.2 billion by 28 districts it doesn’t go very far.”
According to Jobe, percentage of budget drawdowns at 31 December 2016 were over 70% Karonga and Mangochi, 72% Dedza, 94% Kasungu, 72% Nsanje, 94% Lilongwe, 74% Mchinji, 72%.
Analysis by an 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.