Rural hospitals in the country are running short of essential medical supplies and patients are being told to be buying prescribed drugs from pharmacies.
Spot check findings in rural hospitals like Chitheka in Nkhatabay and Katowo in Rumphi, established that the health facilities have paucity in paracetamol and antimalarial drugs.
In an interview, some patients who were directed to consider buying the prescribed drugs, expressed concerns saying, apart from unavailability of pharmacies in such hard to reach areas, most of them cannot manage to buy drugs, given their financial status.
“They gave me Asprin and urged me to go and buy from a pharmacy,” Gregory Chirwa, a Malaria patient in Nkhatabay.
“Besides lack of pharmacies here, some of the problems I can face in accessing the remaining drugs from a private pharmacy include transport cost and distance to Mzuzu.”
Mercy Munthali, an Asthmatic patient we interviewed at Katowo rural health center, a hard to reach area in Rumphi, said he was told to either go to Rumphi district hospital for access to her prescribed drugs.
“But, the roads are bad and I don’t have transport to go there. The ambulance is not functional,” she complained.
Separate findings indicate that such hospitals are running short of other very vital drugs like anti-rabbies and anti-venom.
Health authorities running the facilities referred this reporter to ministry of health for official comment on the matter.
In an interview, ministry of health publicist, Joshua Malango, said the issue could best be addressed by the central medical stores trust.
Central medical stores trust publicist Helbert Chandilanga refused to comment on the matter.