By Patience Lunda
The National Tuberculosis (TB) and Leprosy Elimination Programme in the Ministry of Health has disclosed that the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) will start supplying leprosy medicines in government hospitals across the country from end May this year.
Before this resolution, leprosy medicines were only found at the ministry’s headquarters and would only be sent to public hospitals after a case was identified.
Head of the National TB and Leprosy Elimination Programme, James Mpunga said patients were waiting for days before they could receive their medication.
“Patients will be able to get the medicines quickly and closer to their homes as you know CMST distributes medicines to all health centres across the country which means all health facilities will have these medicines in stock,” he said.
Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director, George Jobe said the development is cost-efficient and would benefit more patients on time.
“At the moment the supply chain management is done by CMST and this arrangement will be a solution to logistical issues and resources will be saved. We are expecting them to ensure that the drugs are in full supply so that they can benefit the patients,” Jobe said.
Malawi attained the World Health Organisation (Who) leprosy elimination status in 1994 because the country was reporting cases below ten per 100 000 people.
Leprosy is a chronic, curable infectious disease mainly causing skin lesions and nerve damage and is spread by airborne respiratory droplets such as coughs or sneezes.
Currently, Malawi has 235 cases of leprosy.