The Ministry of Public Health will be conducting investigations as a means of confirming the stock of drugs at state health facilities to avoid shortages.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton believes that the alleged drug shortage at some regional health institutions is due to the inefficient manner in which drug supply requirements are submitted to the ministry.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton inspecting a pharmacy during a recent visit to the Wakenaam Cottage Hospital
“We had a meeting with the Materials Management Unit (MMU) and they are prepared to document where they have been to regions that claim that they have no medication, to find that there were actually medications in the bond. They do have. That is what officials in the ministry are prepared to document. It is going to be monitored and we are prepared to go on the ground and see what is taking place.”
Giving an invited comment to the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister Norton explained that these institutions are required to submit a combined received and issued vouchers (CRIV) to the MMU for provision of drugs, but are not fully compliant in completing this task.
“The CRIV 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,” Dr Norton added.
Besides that, Dr Norton explained that “we know for a fact that these persons were trained and they should know how to do it… 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,” the minister said.
Minister Norton however, noted that the change in the system of providing drugs to the regions allows for the procurement of specific drugs, adding that it may be a contributing factor to reported drug shortages.
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. That has caused a lot of delay.”