THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) wishes to respond to the statement made by the Opposition Leader on 15 August over “Drug shortage gone from bad to worst”, and the recent drug shortage articles published by the Print Medias.
The statement reads ‘The Opposition Office has been reliably informed that the drug shortage situation in the country has reached a very life-threatening point’.
The Ministry acknowledges the concerns raised and understands the public outcry. However, the ministry also continues to do its best through providing the necessary health care and services to the general population while at the same time managing the processes required to maintain our stockpile of medicines and consumables. As of Monday, this week, our Medicines stock at NMS is at 79% while our consumables stockpile at NMS is 95%.
In light of the drug shortage as alluded to by the public through the various platforms and outlets, the ministry has worked very closely with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT). As a result, the medical supply containers have been cleared off since last week and we acknowledge the support of our partner Ministry, MOFT. The medical supplies are now positioned at the National Medical Store (NMS) and are ready for distribution to the provincial centers. However, one of the challenges faced by the ministry is the distribution of medical supplies out to the provinces as it depends entirely on shipping schedules given the high cost on air freight. The ministry therefore urges and calls on shipping owners to allow some level of flexibility and to support and prioritize loading our medical cargo on their vessels out to the Provinces.
The NRH has received most of its bulk supplies by end of yesterday and redistribution to all wards is progressing. As soon all supplies at the operating suites are finalized all services will be back to normal before end of the week.
The ministry would also like to shade light to the daily deaths recorded at the National Referral Hospital that these are non-related to the drug shortages but more from the stages and progression of patients’ illnesses.
Moreover, the ministry is also aware of medical drug leakages that occurs along the supply chain and distribution lines. Given the seriousness of this matter, the Ministry is not turning a blind eye to it. The ministry is urging groups or individuals’ who may be aware of such practices to come forward and report such practices to the relevant authorities.
The ministry would like to assure the public that the ministry has not taken the matter lightly and will continue to work closely with our partners in the health sector as well as relevant authorities in its efforts to address the drug shortage.