National referral hospital on standby as authorities monitor drug shortage


The national referral hospital will continue with full services as it monitors the issue of drug shortage.

Drug shortage has become serious it has triggered the ministry of health (MHMS) to consider the option of NRH switching to emergency mode.

Switching to emergency mode would mean halting all elective services.

Special Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Kabui on behalf of MHMS in a press conference on Friday last week said MHMS encountered challenges with the replenishment of medical drugs and consumables after mid-2022, soon after COVID-19 transmission in the country.

“Multiple factors were at play affecting our efforts to replenish and maintain stock levels.

“Some within our reach and beyond which the Ministry have from time to time conveyed.

“Such as – delays with international shipment, shortage in global supply (due to lockdowns affecting production), financial constraints that affected payments of drugs and debts to our suppliers overseas, shipping agents and Solomon Ports, delays with reporting of stock outs to the national medical store (NMS) from health facilities, difficulties with domestic flight/shipments to provinces and also the processes involved with payment that needed to be fulfilled, etc.

“All these combined, had truly affected our stock levels including essential drugs and consumables in the provinces and the NRH.

“Stock take conducted at NRH early this year showed out of stock of 22 items of oral drugs, 13 items of injections, 24 items of dressings and miscellaneous and 19 specialist items,” he said.

Kabui said NRH management sees this as very low and had triggered considerations to move into emergency mode, with a halt of all elective services.

“However, NRH maintains full services as usual while the situation is monitored,” Kabui said.

“MHMS says moving into such emergency mode can happen during special beyond-control situations such as disasters, and it does happen to hospitals that face these supplies issues.

“Meeting and discussions held with clinicians showed that it would be very difficult due to back log of surgical cases from COVID-19 and clinicians were not keen to go into this emergency mode so there was never an official memo sent out and the clinicians did provide services case by case and managed patients according to what was available.

“But since then too, the efforts of the Ministry in the past months to clear debts, release containers, make emergency shipments and mobilise support from partners have contributed to improvements with the out of stock items.

“Thanks to Australia, Rotary and all other partners for support. Many of the items under the categories outlined have arrived and distribution underway. As such NRH will continue with normal services,” the health ministry said.

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