Gov’t meets over country’s drug shortage crisis

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THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) has convened an urgent meeting yesterday involving all key stakeholders within the ministry.

The meeting was convened following the emergency Government Caucus meeting over the weekend.

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Health Dr Tautai Agikimu’a Kaitu’u which was also attended by his Permanent Secretary and Under Secretary, the Ministry’s procurement team; the NRH Medical Superintendent, Heads of clinical Departments at the NRH, heads of the Allied Health Services, Nursing, Hospital Pharmacy, the NRH Procurement services; the Director and staff of the National Medical Stores; the Director of the Honiara City Council Health Services and the team from the OPMC.

The meeting purposely sought to ensure that all the stakeholders came together to:

  1. Discuss and have the same understanding on the current shortage of drugs and supplies in the country and;
  2. Agree on the best solution going forward.

It was also noted in the meeting that;

  1. There are critical shortages in many essential drugs and supplies at the NRH;
  2. Two provinces had adequate supplies for up to 2 months (Malaita province) and 3 months (Temotu);
  3. Many other provinces have stocks in some items and low or zero stock on other items;
  4. Replacement stocks of some of the items have started arriving in the country from last week and are being shifted to NRH,
  5. All the orders of drugs and supplies have started arriving with the last lot expected to arrive in October 2018;

The meeting also acknowledged a comprehensive matrix on the status of drugs and supplies conducted by the NRH.

It has also requested the pharmacy and procurement staff with assistance from the clinical departments to include information on the National Medical Stores holdings as well as all provinces to ensure it presents the full picture of drugs supply available in the country.

The meeting will reconvene today afternoon to review the status of the national drug supply which will determine whether additional measures are required to ensure essential drugs are made available as soon as possible under other possible arrangements.

The OPMC and MHMS will provide further updates following tomorrow’s joint comprehensive assessments on the situation.

–GCU

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