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‘Drug theft cases high’

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LAUDED DIGITAL SOLUTIONS—Phale

Deputy Minister of Health Enock Phale has conceded that cases of pilferage and theft of medicines and other supplies are still high in the country’s health facilities, a problem he said continues to interrupt the supply chain.

Phale said this in Lilongwe Tuesday when launching Supply Chain System Architecture (SCSA) which aims at bridging the gap between digital health and digital supply chain.

He said the government is, through the Ministry of Health, committed to establishing a national supply system of management information systems that allows visibility of health commodities from central level warehouses to patients through digitalisation.

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“It is high time we shifted the mindset from use of manual systems, which are easily manipulated by unscrupulous individuals, to robust elect ironic systems so that we serve patients better in this era of technology,” Phale said.

He stressed that, through the end-to-end commodity tracking and tracing, insecurity of health products at various levels of the supply chain will be a thing of the past as Malawi aspires to attain the third Sustainable Development Goal.

The goal aims at preventing needless suffering from preventable diseases and premature death by focusing on key targets that boost the health of a country’s overall population.

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“Availability of health products can improve to reduce shortages in health facilities when thefts and pilferages are stemmed off,” he said.

Deputy Director for the health office at the United States Agency for International Development, which is supporting the project, Haldon Njikho, said the newly launched SCSA will help bolster reliability of supply chain systems in Malawi which, like those in other countries, face continued threats from prevailing dynamics.

“We are proud to play a role in supporting the Government of Malawi’s efforts in developing a system that will guide initiatives to digitalise the supply chain to improve commodity management and accountability in the country,” Njikho said.

As of 2017, research showed that Malawi was losing up to K5 billion of its drug budget to theft and pilferage.

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