MHMS calls on the public not to panic despite the drug shortage at the National Medical Store as new supplies will be released today from its shipping agents and the Honiara Port
THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has confirmed the shortage of medical drugs at the National Medical Stores (NMS) but calls for calm as new drug supplies are being released from shipping containers at the Honiara Port and will soon be distributed to health facilities, including the National Referral Hospital.
MHMS made the confirmation and call, in response to reports of the shortage of medical drugs such as adrenaline and antibiotics, like cloxacillin, ceftriaxone at the National Referral Hospital.
According to the MHMS, it is fully aware of the need to swiftly get these drugs to the NRH and other health facilities across the country and assured that it is working tirelessly to meet all payment and financial requirements to get these new supplies of drugs to the National Medical Store for distribution to the National Referral Hospital and health facilities nationwide.
MHMS said some of the drugs which social media posts said have run out of stock at the NRH Emergency Department, such as adrenaline and antibiotics like cloxacillin and ceftriaxone and consumables will be collected and distributed by the National Medical Store (NMS) team today.
However, it said for hydrocortisone drugs, steroid drugs which are also used for asthma patients, are yet to arrive and NMS has requested the urgent airfreighting of these drugs to Honiara.
“Usually, for many of the drugs, if a shortage is experienced, our medical team will prescribe or administer an alternative drug with similar functions. Hence, MHMS would like to call on the public to not panic. Those without alternatives are the ones that MHMS is prioritising for release and distribution as soon as possible.
“The issue we are all faced with has been communicated all along and through various platforms and that is the delays with drugs making it to our health facilities in a timely manner were caused by delays with international shipment to Solomon Islands.
“This was due to the COVID-19 restrictions and requirements imposed by various countries from which we procure our drugs. It must be noted, we are still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19,” MHMS stated.
MHMS said the other reason for the delay, is the payment processes and systems in place, which has to be complied with before the release of the drugs consignment from its shipping agents. “It takes time to go through the payment processes. It is not something that can be achieved overnight,” MHMS added.
MHMS said it has consulted with MOFT to ensure that these important imported items are not further delayed from release from the port and shipping agents once they arrive.
Meanwhile, MHMS has apologised for the delay and assured that it is addressing the matter and that relevant drugs for the different medical conditions affecting Solomon Islanders will be made available soon.
By FOLLET JOHN
Solomon Star, Honiara