January 6, 2012

Life-line on essential drugs

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), the agency that was coordinating the purchase of the essential drugs courtesy of the donor community, has announced the arrival of the consignment into the country. According to Unicef Malawi press officer Kusali Kubwalo, the plane carrying the first shipment arrived in Malawi on Friday. The medicine will enable authorities treat 1.5 million cases of cholera, and 264,000 episodes of malaria, among others.

The first consignment consists of 2124 kits of essential primary health care medicines and supplies (including antibiotics, anesthetic, gloves, needles, syringes and gauze), and is the first part of an 18-months joint donor initiative to supplement critically needed drugs and supplies in Malawi. Public hospitals have been hit by medication shortages since the withdraw of the donor support following governance concerns. But despite the aid suspension, donors responding to an urgent request for support from the government through United States Agency for International Development and Unicef, had put together about $33 million to bail the country out of the drugs crisis it has been experiencing since July 2011.

US ambassador to Malawi Ms. Jeanine Jackson said the development partners would need about three thousand litres of fuel every week to distribute the drugs. She said the Malawi government should ensure enough and timely supply of fuel.
UK government through DFiD has contributed $16millio, while Norway and German injects $10 million an $7 million respectively. Malawi government has also pumped in 1.8billion Kwacha to procure the remaining drugs that are not covered in the Development Partner Emergency Drug Procurement project, according to Deputy Health minister Ralph Jooma. (Nyasa Times)

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