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MP raises concern on drug allocation

Member of Parliament for Dedza East Constituency, Juliana Lunguzi, has said the Mid-year Budget Review should critically consider District Health Offices (DHOs) that have almost exhausted their drug budget allocations for 2016/2017 fiscal year.

Some of the DHOs that have pressed the panic button include Karonga, Lilongwe, Balaka, Machinga and Kasungu.

One of the reasons cited for exhaustion of budgetary allocations is the Central Medical Stores Trust overcharges.

In her contribution to the Mid-year Budget Review on Wednesday Lunguzi, who chairs Health Committee in Parliament, said the Ministry of Finance should consider the affected DHOs to enable people in those districts to access drugs in public health service delivery institutions without difficulties.

“As we review the budget, can we ask the Minister of Finance to consider increasing drug allocations to public hospitals to enable them to buy all necessary medicines,” Lunguzi said.

She also pleaded with the government not to decrease development budget for the Ministry of Health in the budget review, saying the health sector needs money for infrastructure development.

In an interview, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume said the ministry is equally concerned about the situation, adding that it has engaged the Ministry of Finance in talks.

Kumpalume assured the affected DHOs that they will not go without drug supplies.

“We will investigate to find out why some district health offices used more of their allocations than expected. But we will not let anyone fail to access essential medicines in public health facilities. Even those district health offices that used more money than expected are still getting drug supplies and they will continue doing so up to July when the next budget will be in place,” Kumpalume said.

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