Mzuzu, June 3: Government has deployed people to track those who steal medical drugs and other supplies from public health facilities in the country, Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume has disclosed.
He made the disclosure Thursday in Mzuzu when he opened a two-day orientation workshop for District Health Officers (DHOs) and Pharmacy Staff on Online Ordering for Medicines and Medical Supplies from Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST).
Dr Kumpalume said heath officers and pharmacy staff who are stealing drugs and medical supplies would be caught soon because it is difficult for them to beat the new system put in place to stop theft.
“Theft of drugs is something that we cannot tolerate. I will tell you what; you wouldn’t even know what will hit you. The system that we have put in place; the people that are going around the country looking for people that are stealing medicine; you wouldn’t even know,” he warned.
“I am determined to win that battle. It is a fight that we must all win. It is a fight that we will win. If you behave any differently, I will have no option and I will have no restraint but to recommend that you be fired instantly,” Dr Kumpalume added.
A few days ago, police arrested Mzuzu Central Hospital laboratory assistant Kondwani Kanthenga following a tip-off that he was sending 10 cartons of medical drugs and diagnostic equipment from the hospital through an AXA bus destined for Lilongwe.
Three weeks ago, police also arrested Chiradzulu DHO Dr Gift Chinomba in connection with the theft of drugs worthy K10 million from the hospital. The arrest followed the netting of a pharmacy technician and a driver at the hospital.
“There is a saying that the 40th day will always arise. Your 40th day will arise if you are into that, and will arise soon before the end of this year; trust me!
“We have got the people, we have got the numbers, we have got the process and we have got the ways to win this battle,” Dr Kumpalume warned.
The orientation workshop was aimed at briefing participants on the introduction of Online Ordering system which will replace the current manual system of ordering medical supplies from the CMST.
Speaking earlier, CMST Chief Executive Officer Feston Kaupa said the current manual system is costly as it requires hospital staff to take hard copies of requisitions to the Trust’s regional warehouses in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
“Through the online ordering system, customers will save on time, financial and human resources as there will be no movement to deliver the orders to the regional central medical stores.
“We expect that the savings that will be made might be redirected to other equally important areas of the health sector,” Kaupa said.
Dr Kumpalume then asked the DHOs and pharmacy staff not to derail the reforms on ordering for medicines and medical supplies from CMST.
“It is very important to remember that all these changes are being implemented so that they can benefit the people. You are not the beneficiaries. The beneficiary is the patient. You and I exist because of the patients,” the minister said.