The administration is planning to launch a new drug procurement process next week to better manage its billions of dollars in stocks at the country’s hospitals and health centres.
The new purchasing process is expected to bring to an end, shortages at the facilities and reduce the cost of expired drugs.
According to Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, starting Monday, the Ministry will roll out the revised drug procurement plan beginning with the “hiring and training of procurement and warehouse staffers.
The issue was a major political one for the administration while they were in the opposition prior to May 2015. They had accused consecutive governments of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) of running rackets with the procurement of drugs, worth billions of dollars annually. These included allowing the non-delivery of drugs, in some cases; high prices in others and sole sourcing, among other things. The latter allowed for at least one prominent company to take the hog’s share in drug contracts.
According to Minister Lawrence in a release yesterday, the new procurement system is an ongoing process. “We are going to review it and we are going to look at the loopholes and the gaps,” said the minister.
According to the release, this new procurement process will bring closure to the ongoing drug shortage issue countrywide.
Minister Lawrence explained that in the past, the procurement and the ordering of drugs were not properly forecasted or catered to. The ministry is now actively working to ensure that the first supply drugs under this new procurement system will be here by September 2017.
Minister Lawrence also explained that due to poor management of human and financial resources in the past, quantities of drugs were left to be expired.
During a recent visit to health facilities in Region Six, the minister highlighted that there is need for better resource management within the public health sector.
One of the measures being put in place at the various hospitals and clinics include finding space to accommodate the new supply of drugs by September.
Next month, the next phase of the procurement process to be implemented will involve visits to regional hospitals and clinics to remove expired drugs.
Minister Lawrence said that the Ministry is aiming to rid the system of all expired drugs by year end.
Parliamentarians had conducted visits to a number of hospitals in all three regions earlier this year, finding worrying signs of poor drugs management and supplies.
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