Faith Community petitions parliament on drugs situation


Faith leaders in the country have petitioned Parliament through its health committee to urge government to demonstrate seriousness in dealing with problems being faced by Malawians in accessing drugs and medication in public hospitals.

Some notable concerns in the petition, delivered to the committee on Thursday, include evidence of massive drug pilferage and corrupt practices within the health system due to lack of proper policies and reinforcement procedures.

“Although government established the Essential Health Package, a number of basic essential drugs for conditions such as malaria and other preventable ailments are reported to be available. To make the situation even worse, just nine percent of government and mission facilities (54 out of 585) do provide the full Package. There are reports of people being made to pay for services that are otherwise supposed to be accessed free from public facilities’” reads the petition in part.


Speaking to The Daily Times, one of the petitioners Apostle Willie Chaponda stated that the recent Drugs and Medication Budget Analysis which was commissioned by the Malawi Interfaith Aids Association has revealed a number of shortfalls within the operations of government that have a bearing on the challenges being faced in the access to drugs and medication such as irregularities in the procurement system.

“We found out that there is continued existence of irregularities in the procurement of drugs, recurring failure by suppliers to fulfill drug orders as well as dubious ways of awarding contracts to service providers in the health. There is also lack of mechanisms to reinforce national budget expenditure discipline which has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of public service delivery,” Chaponda said.

In her remarks chairperson of the parliamentary committee on health Juliana Lunguzi said points raised in the petition are a true reflection of the picture on the ground and she, therefore, assured the faith leaders that their suggestions will be taken seriously and presented in the plenary.


“As a committee, we are going to ensure that Parliament does its oversight function on this matter and that the ministry of health seriously attend to these shortfalls,” Lunguzi stated.

The country’s health sector continues to be allocated less than 15 percent of all government spending which leads to serious lack of essential resources. Some hospitals are now offering a single meal to patients a situation that is seriously affecting their adherence to medication.

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