Health sector in Malawi still facing drug pilferage

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As the health sector in the country continues to encounter drug pilferage, Machinga police are keeping behind bars two Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) for stealing drugs.

Machinga police spokesperson Davie Sulumba identified the suspects as James Chikaonda, 53, and Peter Mkwate, 44.

Arrested.

The police have also arrested a Mr Sibwenje for purchasing the drugs.

According to Sulumba, on May 12 the law enforcers received a tip from well-wishers that the third suspect Sibwenje was selling medical drugs in his shop at Namanja Trading centre.

“Follow ups were made which resulted into the arrest of the suspect and he was found with 990 tablets of Bactrim, 144 tablets of LA, 2000 capsules of ampicillin and 157 syringes,” Sulumba said.

Upon being interrogated, Sibwenje revealed that he bought the drugs from HSAs at Namanja Health Centre.

Currently all the suspects are in police custody pending court appearance.

James Chikaonda and Peter Mkwate will answer the charge of theft by public servant contrary to section 286 of the penal code while Sibwenje will answer the charge of being found in possession of medical drugs without a licence, contrary to section 35 as read with section 65 of Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Act.

Police have since advised Malawians to avoid buying medical drugs from local markets since the drugs might be expired due to storage status.

Recently, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume disclosed that Malawi loses about 5 billion kwacha through drug theft.

Kumpalume said corruption among people involved in the pharmaceutical supply chain management, weak regulatory and enforcement capacity are among the factors leading to drug pilferage in the country.

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