CSOs petition Malawi Parliament about on-going shortages of essential drugs
Civil Society Organizations working for people living with HIV in Malawi have learned with great concern that essential drugs for people living with HIV are in short supply in Malawi.
MALAWI: Civil Society Organizations working for people living with HIV in Malawi have learned with great concern that essential drugs for people living with HIV, particularly Bactrim, are in short supply, endangering their lives.
During the petition presentation, Pirira Ndaferankhande, executive director of Malawi Interfaith Aids Association - MIAA, stated that bactrim is an essential drug for people living with HIV, and its unavailability puts their lives in danger.
"We want Bactrim to be available to everyone on ARVs because the shortage is threatening the lives of people living with HIV, and if the situation is not managed, it could lead to increased illness and mortality from opportunistic infections like tuberculosis and meningitis," she explained.
She went on to say that they want parliament to debate the Abuja Declaration, which agreed that at least 15% of the national budget should be allocated to the health sector.
She said: "The government should begin thinking about allocating resources in the national budget to cover the cost of essential drugs such as Bactrim and antibiotics. We request that 15% of the national budget, as stated in the Abuja Declaration, be allocated to health, with at least 5% going towards HIV/AIDS."
Receiving the petition on behalf of the speaker of the National Assembly, Ishmael Grant, who is also the vice-chairperson of the HIV/AIDS committee, stated that this is a critical issue that must be addressed as soon as possible.
"The petition has been received, and it will be presented to the Speaker of Parliament, who will advise us on how to proceed so that we can find ways and means to solve this problem as soon as possible," he said.
Monica Thobwa, a person living with HIV, stated that the lack of bactrim in health facilities is putting their lives in danger because bactrim protects them from a variety of illnesses, including Malaria, tuberculosis, and meningitis, to name a few.
Bactrim, amoxicillin, Panado, and aspirin have been out of stock for some time, and MIAA has pleaded with the government to begin discussing alternative sources of funding for essential HIV drugs.