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No panic over malaria drugs— United States

United States (US) Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, has said she does not expect the country to run out of malaria and Aids drugs anytime soon.

Commenting on the drug situation in the country following reports that district hospitals have already exhausted close to 87 percent of their drug budgets, Palmer said it is unlikely that the US can intervene in the situation a part from making sure that their core areas of focus, malaria and HIV fight, are not affected.

“We focus much on malaria and HIV. HIV drugs are primarily funded by Global Fund but close to 30 percent of the money is from the US Government.

“We [US Government] and the Global Fund also provide almost 95 percent of the funding for malaria drugs and as far as I know, I don’t anticipate any stock-outs of malaria drugs,” Palmer said on the sidelines of her visit to Kwithu Community Based Organisation and Kwithu Kitchen in Mzuzu on Monday.

Ministry of Health Public Relations Officer, Adrian Chikumbe, two weeks ago confirmed that the shortage of drugs in public hospitals is a result of failure by some hospitals to account for the medicines used in previous allocations.

He said some hospitals have not reported on drug use for almost six months creating a feeling of drug pilferage in donors like the US Government.

“Some hospitals take advantage of continued drug supply but then these medicines are donations and as a ministry, we report back to partners who support us. It creates an impression that the medicines are being stolen if they are not reconciled.

“District Health Officers should always make sure that hospitals are submitting reports because we have enough stocks of these medicines,” he said.

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