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Wasteful Central Medical Stores

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JOBE— There must be proper coordination

Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) threw away medical supplies worth K4.9 billion in 2020, an Auditor General Report for 19 State-owned enterprises for the year ended June 30 2022 has revealed.

The K4.9 billion stock was K0.9 billion higher than the K4 billion supplies thrown away in 2019.

Ironically, that was happening at a time the country was facing an acute shortage of medicine in public hospitals.

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“An examination of stocks disclosed that stock write-offs and provision has significantly increased from K4 billion to K4.9 billion. This is an indication that there are inefficiencies in stock management processes, which have led CMST having large quantities of stock that are not on demand.

“As a result, Central Medical Stores Trust is unable to sell these stock items before they expire,” the report reads.

This has riled Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director George Jobe, who described the development as “very unfortunate”.

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“Such funds would have been used to procure medicines that could have served Malawians in either other capacities in the health sector or through other types of medicines.

“We had been in discussions with CMST on those expired medicines and were told that they had devised strategies to avoid a repeat of such a sad occurrence. Our expectation, drawing lessons from this, is that there must be proper coordination with hospitals [their major customer] on what stocks are required most.

“There is now recognition of medicines that are donated by development partners. Such commodities should be bought within considerable quantities,” Jobe said.

He faulted some individuals and organisations for donating medical suppliers months before they expire, saying this is another contributing factor to the problem.

CMST Public Relations Manager Herbert Chandilanga Tuesday said the issues raised in the audit report were already addressed by the institution.

“These matters were addressed and an update made to the Office of the Auditor General on causes and remedies.

“CMST would wait for the Auditor General on any feedback or advice,” Chandilanga said.

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