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CMST needs K30 billion for essential drugs

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Central Medical Stores Trust needs K30 billion to recapitalise and have all essential drugs, The Daily Times has learned.

CMST Board Chairperson Josiah Mayani said this during the launch of a warehouse of tuberculosis (TB) products at the trust’s offices in Blantyre.

Mayani said the trust owes most of its suppliers a lot of money to the point that some no longer give it medical supplies on credit.

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“Actually, one of our suppliers dragged us to court as a way of forcing us to pay. We were given K5 billion a few years ago but we need at least an injection of K30 billion for us to be fully stocked,” he said.

The problem is compounded by the fact that no public healthcare facility is allowed to buy medical supplies from any other source but CMST. This means public hospitals go without essential medicines when CMST fails to source the same from suppliers.

Mayani said the warehouse would enable them to store products meant for TB treatment in a conducive environment.

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Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said her ministry was discussing with Ministry of Finance officials the need to find resources for recapitalisation of the trust.

“Our position is that it does not make sense to have a beautiful warehouse that is empty. The warehouse needs to be well-stocked and even the Ministry of Finance agrees with us that we need resources for that,” she said.

Kandodo Chiponda said it was her ministry’s wish that warehouses should also be available in health centres across the country.

She hailed contractor Sadebeco Germs Construction for doing a “commendable” job.

The contractor, Mkhuzo Bandula Chirwa, said they were committed to providing value for money invested in the facility.

“We know what we are doing. What matters is sticking to designs so that the final product reflects what the owners had in mind,” he said.

Another warehouse has been constructed in Lilongwe.

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