The Ministry of Health will soon commence construction of a state of the art health bond (warehouse) in Eccles, East Bank Demerara at a cost of some US$5 million.
This is according to Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who indicated that in the coming days the tender board will announce the award of the contract, which is scheduled to be completed within ten months.
Dr. Ramsammy said that the new warehouse, which will be used to store all drugs imported into the country, will be similar to one in the United States.
The construction of the facility will commence within weeks of signing of the contract, and the storage facility will be able to cover all the needs of the Ministry.
Currently, the Health Ministry is renting a warehouse in Farm on the East Bank of Demerara. This warehouse, he said, is computerised to increase accountability in the system.
Instead of health facilities sending their request for medical supplies on paper, they can now be sent via a hand held device, which stores it directly in the computer system.
Minister Ramsammy said that one of the problems that the Ministry encounters on a regular basis is the fact that health facilities in remote areas do not get their supplies on time, but with the new system, this would not happen. “When it comes via paper form, it means that somebody has to type it into the system and the possibility of mistakes exists. So it is a modern state of the art warehouse,” the Health Minister said. Systems at the new warehouse will be able to detect drugs that are close to expiry date, and if a request is made for drugs, then the computer would direct the health officials to the drugs that will soon expire.
“In the past, once you find the drugs, you just send it out…You don’t have time to check the expiry dates and so on, but now these things are packed in such a way, the computer will tell you ‘pick from here’.”
However, the system is designed in such a way that if there is a request for drugs for remote areas, it would indicate that the drugs be taken from the section where the drugs have a long shelf life.
On a yearly basis, Minister Ramsammy said that close to $2.5 billion is spent on acquiring drugs for the health sector.
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