Rumphi Council faulted over plan to use K13 million for disposal of expired drugs


Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Rumphi District have spoken against the district council’s proposal to spend K13 million on disposing of expired drugs at Rumphi District Hospital.

The CSOs have since advised the council to look for cost-effective ways of destroying the drugs through consultations with all relevant offices.

Speaking on Wednesday when the district council engaged CSOs on the issue, a representative for Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Moya Walita, argued that there was no justification for the council to spend K13 million on disposing of expired drugs while the facility has many pressing issues that need financial resources.

“We have so many pressing issues that need money to solve. We are talking of inadequate drug supply after the pharmacy at the facility was razed down by fire.

“Our suggestion is that we suspend this until we find a least costly solution to dispose of the drugs. We should also look at disposing of the drugs within the district,” he said.

A representative for Rumphi Residents Association, Afiki Mbewe, also said the K13 million figure was exorbitant and asked relevant offices at the council to revisit it. 

However, in his response, Rumphi District Commissioner (DC) Emmanuel Bulukutu said the budgeting was done by the relevant offices after considering the number of offices that are required by law to be available when such exercises are taken.

“According to the law, we are supposed to have officers from Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Department of Environment, National Audit Office and other relevant offices which are not based in the district.

“Secondly, our incinerators at the facility cannot handle it because the process requires a large amount of heat to destroy the drugs to ashes. However, we are looking at a way of destroying the drugs using minimal resources which is in line with the concerns of the CSOs,” said Bulukutu.

He added that the council is looking for alternative sources of money required for the exercise, as they cannot use what was already budgeted for other activities.

By Manasse Nyirenda