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Malawi’s Dwindling Medical Supplies

Almost half of Malawi’s district hospitals have closed their operating theatres due to a dire shortage of anaesthetics. The Anaesthesia Association of Malawi called the situation “an emergency” and said 11 of the country’s 28 districts had run out of drugs. The association demanded answers from the Ministry of Health and a meeting with the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST), which buys and supplies drugs to all public hospitals. Malawi’s health system faces immense challenges, from lack of equipment to a severe shortage of qualified staff. Poor working conditions, including low salaries, have led to health workers seeking better-paid jobs outside the country or with non-governmental organisations. People, including pregnant women, have to travel long distances to reach their nearest clinic or hospital. New private clinics have sprung up across Malawi, profiting from the shortages by catering to those who can afford their prices.