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O ye wasteful sons and daughters

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Puludzu

I am now inclined to believe that some of the challenges we keep experiencing as a country are nothing but self-inflicted wounds brought about by some self-serving and unpatriotic individuals. The story about K2 billion worth of drugs expiring under service providers’ watch was not only shocking, shameful but also embarrassing to the Malawi government. How do you begin to account and explain for all that mess? Our good Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda managed to put on a brave face when making the disclosure in Parliament but, believe me, this must have certainly hurt and, no wonder, it attracted voices of despair from the community.

What makes it even more sickening is the fact that this is happening at a time our relations and friends back in the village and other remote areas are constantly turned back at public health facilities on the excuse of unavailability of drugs and yet here we are, having quite a huge consignment of essential medical drugs expiring under our very noses. It does not make sense at all!

Just the other day, there was a desperate call from some district hospitals over the lack of medical supplies, which has made the job of those stationed in such institutions more cumbersome than it already was. To rub salt to injury, last week we even heard from the Central Medical Stores Trust that, in the face of the challenges experienced in public hospitals pertaining to drug supplies, there is a consignment at sea which is yet to arrive in Malawi and not much can be done about it rather than wait. But no! Somebody could afford to be wasteful and let medical drugs expire (if at all they indeed did) or have them disappear at the expense of a fellow country man in hospital whose very life is dependant upon those drugs. I can just imagine the next course; probably the line minister and a couple of officials would put up a show for all and sundry to witness the destruction of the ‘expired’ drugs and yet we very well know how some people loot the system and cover their trucks well. When will the so-called anti-drug theft unit in the ministry give an account to the public on how they have operated since they came into being? It is about time they did because their muted voices are the very reason why some of our minds are wandering with imagination.

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I bet even those that are always keen to help us must be laughing their mouth off following such comical turn of events. I mean, how do you begin to assist somebody approaching you with a begging bowl and yet they are being wasteful? We sure need to have our faculties straightened.

I am fully aware that there was a patch within the year, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when some people, especially the elderly, had shunned hospitals but, still, that cannot be reason enough to account for the K2 billion loss of drugs.

My theory is that this could all boil down to pilferage within the system. I, for one, cannot buy the mumble jumble peddled by the authorities hook, line and sinker. There are a lot of people plying in the medical field within the public sector who have opened some clinics or drug stores in most neighbourhoods and while some are rightly operating at their own costs and purely to render a good service to the Malawi nation, there are a few rotten apples within the pile who thrive on stealing government supplies such as medical drugs. They need to be stumped out or else we will keep having problems Malawians deserve better.

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The rains upon us

It is surprising to note that though some parts of the country have started receiving rains, the much needed seeds and cheap fertiliser under the Affordable Inputs Programme are yet to reach all corners. This is not good at all because we cannot afford to toy around with food production.

We were told, this other day, that only five percent of the inputs had been distributed while the rest have to wait until their turn since the inputs are nowhere in sight.

Never mind that there is a litany of challenges that Malawians are grappling with, and even the government spokesperson even admitted on Tuesday that, indeed, life is not easy in Malawi at the moment though he emphasised that it is not just Malawi but that the global economy has been shaky since the advent of Covid-19.

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