The Ministry of Public Health yesterday commissioned a $539M drug storage bond at Kingston. Among those present at the occasion were Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, Minister of Social Cohesion George Norton, City Mayor Ubraj Narine, Deputy Mayor Alfred Mentore and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud.
Mr. Lloyd Hutson, the Manager of the Central Supplies Unit (CSU) delivered the welcoming remarks and the programme got underway. Auditor General Deodat Sharma in his brief comments, noted that there were issues and weaknesses in the past with the Ministry’s accountability, and he admonished that the storekeeper “must make frequent checks with records and they should have good record keeping”.
Finance Permanent Secretary acting Michael Joseph also addressed the gathering. He posited that with the new facility, which is ten times the size of the old one, there should “no longer be an inflation of budgetary expenditure due to the repurchase of drugs”.
Joseph made reference to the decrepit state of the old building saying that “it leaked when it rained, thus stock was exposed to mould, mildew and the discoloration of stationery.
Minister Lawrence in her keynote speech expressed happiness at the completion of another bond, saying that her ministry was one step closer to where it wanted to be.
She noted that the bond was also a promise kept by President Granger to fix the health system, and she opined that he was “well on the way” to doing so. The Kingston Bond is essentially an extension of the facility at Diamond, and will see less hassle in the distribution as well as storage of drugs.
The Minister gave a brief history lesson about the CSU, saying that it is a moving bond, as in 1982 it was housed at the Chief Pharmacist’s Office, it then moved to an annex at Liliendaal in 1984. It moved again
to Kingston in 1992 but had to be relocated early last year to facilitate construction of the present one.
She said that she understood why staff acted the way they did, as the previous bond was uninspiring. “If I was offered a job there, I wouldn’t go”. She was however happy that all those issues have been resolved and that staff will now have no excuse to meet demands and deadlines. She then wished the staff well and asked them to care the facility.
The plaque to officially commission the building was unveiled and the ribbon was cut by the Prime Minister. Those in attendance were then given a tour of the spanking new facility.
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