By Kondwani Magombo
Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi has warned that anyone who would be found stealing government medical drugs from the country’s health facilities would face the long arm of the law.
The minister gave the warning on Monday in Mangochi when he launched the 2018 national mass distribution of insect-treated mosquito nets.
Muluzi’s warning was in reference to recent arrests of seven medical workers from a number of health centres in the district, including Katuli and Lungwena, in connection with pilferage of drugs.
“It is very sad and unfortunate that some health workers are so ill-minded that they steal medical drugs from our facilities like it has been the case with Katuli Health Centre. Stealing government medical drugs is as bad as killing and we are not going to let such people go scot-free,” he warned.
Muluzi said government health facilities had enough malaria drugs to last for nine months and that ARVs (anti-retroviral therapy) and TB drugs were also in abundance. He, therefore, appealed to the public to report any incidences of drug theft to relevant authorities for justice to take its course.
On the mass mosquito net distribution campaign, Muluzi described malaria as another deadly disease responsible for deaths of 10 people every day in Malawi, hence the need for every Malawian to be protected from mosquito bites at all times.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they are well protected from mosquitoes by sleeping under treated mosquito nets every night all year round,” Muluzi emphasised.
The minister also unveiled veteran artist, Sir Paul Banda, as the 2018 Malaria Ambassador, challenging him to take the fight against the disease to remote areas of the country.
In his acceptance speech, Banda said he was humbled with the new responsibility, pledging to support the mass campaign from the beginning to the end.
The official launch of the mass national net distribution campaign was held at Chapola Community Ground in Traditional Authority Chimwala. It was marked with a solidarity march, exhibitions, dances and live music from Alleluya Band and Health Education Band.
World Vision, a Christian non-profit child-centred organization, will be responsible for the distribution exercise and according to the organization’s national director, Hazel Nyathi, 10.9 million nets are going to be distributed across the country.-Mana