The Central Medical Stores Trust [CMST] was established by the Government of Malawi (GOM) in November 2010 by General Notice Number 125/1968 of the Finance and Audit Act. It replaced the Central Medical Stores, an operational arm of the Ministry of Health [MOH] since 1968.
Revision of the legal status of the then Central Medical Stores (CMS) to become a Public Trust was initiated in early 2000.
Following Cabinet approval of the Trust Deed in October 2008, the CMST Board of Trustees was appointed in November 2010 and revocation of the 1968 Medical Stores Fund Order followed in July 2011. Registration of the Central Medical Stores as a Public Trust was in August 2011.
The Trust however only became fully functional in 2012 after the recruitment of its Chief Executive Officer, Director of Finance and Administration, Director of Corporate Services and Director of Pharmaceutical Operations.
The Trust inherited various operational, financial, management and governance challenges which had plagued the functioning of its predecessor organization and led to serious drug shortages at whose highpoint culminated in 95% out-of-stock in January 2013.
The Trust was expected to overcome these challenges, operate on a commercial basis and fund its own operations. It was therefore incumbent upon the Trust to ensure that adequate quantities of medicines and medical supplies were made available to all public health facilities in Malawi.
To this end, the Trust engaged a reform agenda enshrined in its Corporate Strategy and Business Plan 2013-2018 but whose implementation was compromised by the lack of the necessary seed funds [recapitalization] to kick-start its operations.
The Corporate Strategy and Business Plan were later revised to take into account existing operational realities, leading to the adoption by the Board of the Corporate Strategy and Business Plan 2015-2020.
The Trust is a not-for-profit, autonomous organization whose main stakeholder is the Government of Malawi. While not being expected to make profit, it has to generate enough resources to fund its operations, pay salaries and other expenses by selling its commodities and utilizing the management fees it charges for the warehousing and distribution services.
WHY A PUBLIC TRUST?
A Public Trust is foreseen to judiciously and efficiently estimate and buy the medical and pharmaceutical demands of the population through proper public procurement, appropriate storage and proficient distribution of the supplies to user facilities.