A number of health facilities across the country, especially those that had run short on insulin, will soon have an updated supply of these and other drugs after they are cleared from a local port-of-entry, by the Ministry of Public Health.
Director of Regional Health Services (RHS), Dr. Kay Shako via telephone told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that insulin (used to treat diabetes) and other drugs have arrived in the country, and countrywide distributions are to start shortly.
Regular Insulin (sample)
Since the beginning of the year, there had been reports of drug shortage at some health institutions. Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton believes the new decentralised system that the ministry implemented for drugs procurement may have contributed to the shortage.
Minister Norton said, “There is no doubt about the fact that we have changed from a system we had before where we had central procurement in terms of deciding what the country needs, and then sending out to the various regions. We changed from that where the regions can now decide what they want and send down the list to the Ministry of Public Health, and we procure for them and then send it out to them (regions). That has caused a lot of delay.”
Additionally, the minister also indicated that regions have not yet adjusted to the new system. Persons responsible for completing Combined Received and Issued Vouchers (CRIVs) at health institutions, for submissions to the Materials Management Unit (MMU) are not fully compliant in completing this task.
CRIVs serve as a form for requesting drugs and other medical supplies from the central stores in Georgetown. Medical personnel, including pharmacists and pharmacy assistants have been trained in completing the document.
The minister added, “The CRIVs which the regions are supposed to send to MMU, are all done in a haphazard, inefficient manner and data that is supposed to be declared, there is no compliance. Besides that, we know for a fact that these persons were trained and they should know how to do it. It is not rocket science, I can’t see why is it that if they were asked to send certain data to help with the fitting up of these CRIVs why it is not being done. I get the impression that things have been left unmonitored for a very long time, and it’s going to take an uphill task for us to get in place.”
In an effort to begin the drug distribution, Minister Norton and a team of health officials visited a number of health facilities in Region One over the past weekend, delivering drugs and other medical supplies to those areas that had reported drug shortages.