THE Minister of Health and his Permanent Secretary have to carry out stronger leadership in ensuring shortage of essential drugs never happen again, Prime Minister Rick Hou says.
Speaking to local journalists on Thursday morning, Mr Hou, said that the current drugs shortage in the country is under the health leaders’ watch and they need to step up their efforts to address it effectively and to ensure it never ever happen again.
Following the drug situation he had instructed the Minister of Health Tautai Agikimu’a Kaitu’u and Permanent Secretary Dr Tenneth Dalipanda to take a stronger leadership role to address this current shortage of essential drugs affecting our country,” Mr Hou said.
He said that over the past three days staff from the prime minister’s office and Ministry of Health underwent a stock-take of essential drugs available at the National Referral Hospital, now quantified in percentage.
“As of Thursday 19 July 2018, the stock level of essential drugs at the National Referral Hospital are as follows:
· 30% of our essential drugs are now in stock compared to only 10% three days earlier on 16th July.
· 32% of our essential drugs are available but in low stock compared to 48% three days earlier, and
· 38% are out of stock compared to 40% earlier.”
“We have seen small improvement in the stock levels of essential drugs resulting from receipt of some of our orders over the past week, but nowhere near enough improvement,” Mr Hou said.
However, he said that 1.4 million Amoxycillin Capsules, 90,000 Procaine Penicillin Injections, 60,000 Benthazine Penicillin Injections, 2,000 Atropine sulphate injections and 500 Ketamine injections will arrive in Honiara today from Brisbane.
He also highlighted government has started reaching out to its diplomatic missions and will provide a full brief to them during the course of today to request their urgent assistance to mobilise emergency supplies of essential drugs and consumables to help us cover the next two months until our orders arrive.”
“We anticipate being back to normal supplies within the next two months when five orders made between April and June this year all arrive in the country.
“During the two months period when our orders are trickling in, staff from the OPMC and the MHMS are exploring all avenues to bring the needed drugs into Solomon Islands as soon as possible, within the next week to ensure we have adequate emergency stocks until full order arrives.”
Hou said, one of the immediate actions is the instruction made to the responsible Minister and the PS to step up in their roles, which he also mentioned letters with “heavy words” sent to the public servants.
“I feel that the government is addressing the issue, and PMO is taking the lead,” he said.
By COMFORT MAENI