Stakeholders in the Medicines sector have expressed need for journalists to have knowledge of Malawi’s medicines and Medical Supplies issues.
Benson Chisamile, Principal Secretary responsible for Administration in the ministry of health said this in Salima during a media training on reporting medicines and Medical Supplies, organized by Central Medical Stores Trust in collaboration with Oxfam.
Chisamile said, “The meeting comes at no better time than now when the Ministry is working so tirelessly to improve efficiencies in service delivery by, among other things, improving the procurement, warehousing and distribution of health commodities, including medicines and medical supplies.”
“The duty to run an effective national health system is huge and challenging. More recently, the duty has even been made harder by the global calamities such as pandemics that have challenged the supply of health commodities like medicines. As you are aware, health commodities are a critical feature in the pursuit of effective national health systems. A hospital without medicines is no hospital at all.”
According to Chisamile, discussing ways of improving the media’s understanding of the public health is commendable as it would help the media do more stories on procurement, warehousing and distribution of medicines and medical supplies.
On his part, Dr Chikaiko Chadzunda, Central Medical Stores Trust Chief Executive Officer said Medicines and medical supplies have a huge bearing on health and health systems hence equipping the media with knowledge on how to report about the issues.
While commending government for the efforts being done to improve the health sector, Oxfam, through its Communication Lead for Southern Africa Region Daud Kayisi said evidence on the ground demands that more has to be done to improve the health sector.
“The Malawi health sector still faces myriad of inadequate resources leading to constraints in achieving Universal Health Coverage in a manner that is sustainable and equitable. According to Health Sector Strategic Plan II, the health care system in the country experiences shortage of essential medical supplies and technologies and there are several factors leading to this.”
“Very worrying is that it is on record that Malawi loses about 30% of the national drug budget to pilferage. Based on evidence available, all these fall under supply chain management and reporting of medicines hence need for this media workshop, “said Kayisi.
Speaking on behalf of journalists, Mandy Pondani Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter Vice Chairperson said MISA Malawi values the capacity building for the journalists as Issues of health and medicines are crucial and sometimes become controversial if not reported correctly.