Maputo — The Health Directorate in the central Mozambican province of Manica is working to strengthen security systems to end the thefts of drugs from medical stores of the National Health Service.
As in other parts of the country, there has been an alarming rise in thefts of medicines, which are then sold in informal markets where they are exposed to the elements, and where no pharmacists are available to advise on dosage and other aspects of use.
The new strategy, according to the Manica provincial director of health, Juvenaldo Amos, is to install surveillance cameras inside the medical stores to control the movements of staff, and identify who is removing medicines. This is such an obvious anti-theft move that its raises the question: why was it not done before?
Speaking in Gondola district, Amos said the cameras would be placed in the medical stores in all Manica districts, to staunch the theft of drugs. He did not say how much the new surveillance equipment would cost.
“Some health workers, particularly those who deal directly with medicines in the stores, steal them and put them on the black market. This greatly concerns us”, said Amos. “We have seen lots of medicines being sold in the street, and many of them come from the National Health Service. This causes enormous losses, because we ought to have these medicines in the health units, and instead, they're being sold on the streets”.
“These medicines are being sold under improper conditions”, he added. “They're a danger because they're being handled by people with no knowledge of health”.
Amos said the health directorate is working with the police against the thieves, and so far this year ten people - both health workers and sellers - have been arrested for the theft and illegal sale of medicines.