Drugs crisis caused by breakdown in management: Prime Minister

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Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and MP for Small Malaita Hon Rick Hou.
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By Alfred Sasako

PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela has pointed to a “breakdown in management” as the source of the drugs crisis being faced by the National Referral Hospital and the Honiara City Council

“There was lack of leadership. It’s a management lapse,” Prime Minister Houenipwela told a news conference yesterday morning.

He assured members of the public, particularly those living in Honiara that the Government “is leaving no stones unturned” as the Office of the Prime Minister took charge of the crisis.

Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmy Rogers told the news conference that the entire arrangement would be “fully mobilised by next week.”

In the meantime, the government is sourcing emergency drugs and flying them to Honiara on the first available transport. A batch of emergency drugs is due to arrive in Honiara by air before midday today (Friday).

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The Government, he said, is talking with donors to see what they could do to assist.

Prime Minister Houenipwela yesterday met Papua New Guinea’s outgoing High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Fred Yakasa. No details of their discussion were available at the time of going to print.

Meanwhile he denied Cabinet had decided to end Australia’s help in funding drugs through its five-year health sector funding.

An interim audit undertaken over the last two days found that Malaita and Temotu Provinces each have in stocks sufficient drugs including emergency drugs for the next two months.

“Some of these are being shipped to the National Referral Hospital,” Dr Rogers said.

He also said that drugs for 2019 have been ordered and “by September this year, we’ll be fully stocked.”

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