Gov’t cuts budget for medicine


THE Government has only provided a budget of $35.8 million in its 2021 budget to purchase medical stocks including medicines, drugs, dressings, equipment and commodities.

This was despite the value of the stock at the National Medical Store in Honiara was set at $92.6 million in December 2020.

A report in the National Health Strategic Plan 2022-2031 launched Monday this week in Honiara confirmed stock availability for critical and essential medicines at National Medical Store (NMS) remained constant since 2017.

In 2017, there was 90 percent of stock available, with 72 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019 and 82 percent in 2020.

While for stock availability for critical and essential medicines at Primary Health Care Facilities dropped in the last three years.

In 2017, there was 72 percent in stock at the PHCF but dropped to 38 percent in 2018, 24 percent in 2019 and 32 percent in 2020.

The report states while they have good confidence in the medicines and consumable data coming from the NMS, National Referral Hospital, Second Level Medical Stores (SLMS) and some Area Health Centres due to their use of M-Supply, they have low confidence in stock availability data at all other health facilities.

Further to that, the report states the storage situation at the NMS is deteriorating due to inadequate storage relative to population growth and this has been compounded since the COVID19 outbreak.

It says 19 SLMS in the provinces supplement storage at the NMS and support distribution at provincial level.

“There is a five year plan for new strategically located SLMS storage facilities to be established (for example, in the Shortland Islands) but this has yet to be realized.

“Buffer stores in Noro, Kilu’ufi and Guadalcanal provinces are planned as higher capacity SLMSs to address some of the national security risks associated with the NMS and also to reduce pressure on it,” report says.

Moreover, a National Medical Equipment Committee oversees the procurement, distribution and management of medical equipment for tertiary, secondary and primary health care services in line with Role Delineation Policy (RDP) guidelines.

It says many health facilities lack basic medical equipment.

The report says this Committee will be amalgamated to the Infrastructure Committee and renamed “Infrastructure and Medical Equipment Committee.”

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