Access to timely health care of high quality is a fundamental human right that every Malawian is entitled to enjoy. The Constitution of Malawi under section 13 (c) obligates States to provide adequate health care, which is commensurate with the health needs of Malawian society and international standards.
A corollary component of the right to health is the need that the facilities and services should be accessible to everyone, including the vulnerable without discrimination on any prohibited grounds.
This entails that health facilities should provide health care services that are scientifically and medically appreciated and of good quality, and that health workers should be respectful of medical ethics as well as attentive to gender and life-cycle requirements.
As one way of achieving the said good health services in the country, Makanjira Development Foundation (MDF), a Mangochi based Non-Governmental Organization (MDF) is implementing a 15, 000 Euro project dubbed ‘Robust Health Campaign Project (RHMC)’ which is being funded by Tilitonse Foundation.
The RHMC project seeks to empower members of the Makanjira community to monitor the utilization of drugs and medical supplies in the area by reporting cases of drug pilferage and performance failure.
Speaking during the launch of the project on Saturday at Mpiripiri primary school in the district, MDF Chairperson Osman Kennedy said the initiative is aimed at empowering the Makanjira community to monitor how health service delivery is done in all the health centers in T/A Makanjira so that everyone’s right to quality health care is achieved.
Kennedy said his organization has introduced radio listeners’ clubs where members access the right information on health service delivery, suggestion boxes in all the health centers and has established toll-free number (3054) which people can use to report cases of drug theft in hospitals.
He said currently, the initiative is paying off as some people have been arrested for allegedly being found with drugs in their homes without a license after people tipped off the organization and the police.
“We have uncovered the syndicate of people that are involved in drug theft. In Lugola, the police have arrested people who were found with drugs in their houses and we believe the police will connect the dots in order to discover the links as we all know that the drugs that the police found in the houses of the local people were the drugs that are found in the health centers and we know that the source of those drugs is the health centers here in Makanjira”, said Kennedy.
In his remarks, District Medical Officer for Mangochi Dr. Chimwemwe Thambo who was the guest of honor at the launch commended MDF for coming up with the project which he said will go a long way in the fight against drug theft in the area.
Dr. Thambo further urged people in T/A Makanjira to not only focus on drug theft but also all medical equipment in hospitals.
He then reminded the people the dangers of COVID-19 pandemic and urged them to follow the preventative measures diligently.
“This project is very important and is coming at the right time. One of the agendas is to empower the people of Makanjira to take an active role in health decisions, so it is very important to us because it helps us in disseminating health information and ensuring that citizenry is taking part in decision making.
“We have been receiving reports that people have seen that the medication that are supposed in the hospital being found on the market and in homes within the community which is bad. Let me encourage people of Makanjira to report people whom they are suspecting holding or keeping medication and medical equipment to police,” said Thambo.
Commenting on the progress of the project, Tilitonse Foundation Capacity Development and Mentoring Officer Tukupina Nyirenda said they are satisfied with the progress of the project so far.
Nyirenda said Tilitonse Foundation is expecting people in Makanjira to benefit a lot from the project as the health services delivery will improve.
“There will be a reduction on the number of drug pilferage cases and also prosecution of these cases because we had cases before that have been brought to the police but as they went to court only few cases had been prosecuted up to the incarceration of those perpetrators, so with this project, we are happy to see that we have already started catching people who are perpetrating this drug pilferage,” said Nyirenda.
The Robust Health Management Campaign is being implemented with the support from Tilitonse Foundation and is expected to run for a period of 12 months where over 16, 000 people including women, youth, and people living with HIV and AIDS are poised to benefit.