Oct 02, 2016 News
…to discard controversial Albouystown facility
Media operatives and Junior Minister of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, were on
Friday given a tour of the Diamond Supplies Chain Management Complex which is used to store a substantial quantity of the Nation’s medical supplies.
During the visit, Dr. Cummings said that the government is currently looking to source its own bond. It wants to stop renting the Sussex Street bond.
She said that it has been 10 years since the Diamond bond has been commissioned and it has been serving its purpose in terms of storage. However, she said that the procurement and distribution of drugs by the Public Health sector still needs to be augmented with an additional bond for storage.
According to Cummings, there are times when several containers, sometimes as many as four, would arrive with supplies and the Diamond complex would be overwhelmed.
“It can be packed to capacity, so in my mind’s eyes, we’re in need of another bond just as a measure of any eventuality.”
When asked for an update about the controversial Sussex Street bond, Cummings said that the bond has already started to receive drugs.
On the issue of the government’s efforts to find alternatives to the Sussex Street location,
she said, “We’re trying to have our own bond because we are renting that, and so as I said before, there are times when we need to have another bond and so we’re thinking of having a second source.”
The Diamond bond was commissioned on March 8, 2013. The facility provides services such as distribution, monitoring of drugs and medical supplies in Regional health services.
In terms of capacity, the bond is 26,691 square feet of active storage. It is equipped with modern racks and refrigeration equipment to store vaccines, including insulin.
The construction of the bond was funded through collaboration between the Government of Guyana, the United States Government, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
The Government of Guyana financed $120M towards the project. In a recent report published by the Supply Chain Management System, it was noted that the Diamond facility has the capacity to store all of the nation’s drugs and even more.
It was even noted by the drafters of the report that the additional space in the bond could be leased to supplement other financial gaps within the Public Health sector. The report estimated that Guyana can earn about $70M from leasing the space of pallet locations.
It was explained that only 1,365 pallets are being utilised to store drugs. Pallets are the base on which drugs are stored for easy movement.
The sub-committee that launched an investigation into the Sussex Bond scandal had also acknowledged that the Diamond location can indeed store drugs for the entire nation. However, the committee highlighted other factors which needed to be taken into consideration when using the facility.
The committee which comprised Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman; and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, had said that the location of the bond could hamper distribution services.
Further, it was reported by the committee that it is not wise or safe to have all of the nation’s drugs in one facility, in case of fire or a natural disaster.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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