Latest update March 29th, 2023 12:59 AM
Apr 07, 2017 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
As if the very agreement governing the use of the Sussex Street drug bond was not enough to cast a dark cloud over the facility, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has added to the problem.
The drug bond is being shared by GPHC and the Diamond Materials Management Unit (MMU). But one would hardly believe they are in the same building when viewing the areas maintained by the MMU in comparison to those maintained by the GPHC—the difference is vast.
While there were a few empty shelves, the parts of the building maintained by the MMU were tidy; boxes were neatly packed and supplies were categorized. But, the parts maintained by the GPHC suffer a different fate. Different kinds of drugs were packed together, boxes were just dumped in the middle of the facility, and rotten pallets were packed in the corner.
Ironically, all this happens under the watchful eye of a bold sign instructing “Keep this area clean and tidy at all time.”
The media was able to view this reality yesterday as the Ministry of Public Health opened the facility for a tour. The tour was facilitated by the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Public Health, Terrence Esseboom, and Warehouse Manager for the Diamond Medical Supplies and Drugs Bond, Silhouette Craig.
Esseboom said that the purpose of the activity was to let the public know that the bond is being utilized. He noted that media houses were constant in their calls for a tour of the bond.
“It is just an opportunity for people to judge for themselves rather than the ministry putting out and releasing something for you… Judge for yourself and see whether the bond is being utilized for the purpose in which it is rented and to judge how things are now, to how it was then.”
Warehouse Manager for the Diamond Bond, Silhouette Craig, said supplies are being stored at the Sussex Street bond because Diamond is full to capacity.
Craig said that thorough checks are made when medical supplies arrive at the bond to ensure that the correct supplies are delivered and in the correct amounts but nothing is dispatched from that bond to any medical facility. She said that when Diamond supplies diminish, those stored at Sussex Street are transferred.
“We receive (medical supplies) here, however, we do not do dispatches here. We replenish supplies for the Diamond bond Materials Management Unit from here so we do storage here.” Craig added, “We have security and would come here very often during the course of the week to check on the supplies, check on the temperature and so forth.”
She said that the MMU stores supplies at the upper flat of the bond and a quarter of the lower flat where the cold chain area is set up.
“Space has been a problem at Diamond for quite some time now. We were using Kingston bond but there does not have the temperature to store certain supplies,” said Craig.
She said that the bond currently stores condoms, lubricants, insulin, Omeprazole tablets, Trifluoperazine tablets, Metronidazole injections, Chlorophan Expectorant and other medical supplies.
Craig was unable to say if the bond has yet been approved by the Food and Drugs Department but said that there have been no reports of spoilt drugs being stored at that facility.
Asked about the untidiness of the space maintained by GPHC, Craig said that she has no jurisdiction there. She noted that on several occasion her staff members mentioned the state of the facility but she instructed them not to interfere because, “I do not want anything to go missing and we get blamed; we focus on what we are responsible for and we try to maintain it at best.”
Public Health’s Esseboom echoed that GPHC is an autonomous agency. “We have no direct jurisdiction…Maybe we can get GPHC PRO to give explanation but to say it is mismanaged that is a judgment call I cannot make.”
Esseboom even supposed that maybe it is not how the bond is kept, regularly. “I do not know how busy down here is, it could have been like this because they had a lot of activities into the night last night.”
He continued, “In any enterprise things can improve, things can get better and if the media spotlights something I am sure that the ministry and the GPHC will listen to the critique and improve things. I mean that is how we get progress,”
In the 2017 National Budget, a total of $180M was budgeted for the purpose of renting the bond. A three-year contract has been signed for use of the facility owned by the Linden Holdings Company. However, a Cabinet sub-committee has been created to review the bond contract. There has been no update on the work of that committee.
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