Revised drug procurement system to be rolled out shortly – Minister Lawrence tells Region Six Public Health officials
GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, May 16, 2017
The Ministry of Public Health’s revised drug procurement system which will bring resolution to the ongoing drug shortage throughout the country is expected to be implemented by the month of June.
Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence announced that the detailed adjustments will be presented to the media, providing information and having the general public familiar with the revised system.
Minister Lawrence told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that, “I am planning to have a press conference where we will show it (revised document) to the press people and get their answers and questions …I also want them to know that we were not just revising the whole procurement process, but even as we did so, we were taking into consideration the suppliers, the importers the manufacturers and so on to ensure that the process and the request coming out of the ministry, that it works in tandem with all of these players because we can’t do without them.”
Minister Lawrence explained that in the past the procurement and ordering of drugs were not properly forecast or catered to. She cited as an example, an excess amount of drugs will be purchased for 20,000 cancer patients when only 5000 patients are actually in the region. The excess amount of drugs can be left to expire or spoil if not properly stored. “There were no records for the consumption so you were just buying… So the ordering was being done on assumption and not based on consumption, and we have tried to remedy that as far as possible,” the Minister added.
During a visit to health facilities in Region Six on Monday, Minister Lawrence highlighted the need for better resource management. The poor management of human and financial resources affects the overall delivery of health care in the region. The minister said with stringent management in place, the effective administration of drugs and medical supplies will become easier.
Meanwhile other issues that remain in the region are due to the fact that the region’s health sector is not being given priority, the minister
stated. The need for an effective line of communication was emphasised by Minister Lawrence. She added that there are some small issues in the region which require minor input and should really be non-issues.
“I know that the issues within the region are not only drug related, but there are other issues because I have seen these issues in other regions, and it seems to permeate through the health industry. So coming into the region, I believe that it has been worth my while. This is just the first of my visits, and what I want to ensure is that we can open that link of communication, have that interaction between the administrators, the doctors, and the region that holds the purse and also to get the region to see it through a health perspective and to approach it,” Minister Lawrence said.
More specifically, the minister and a team visited the Skeldon District Hospital, the National Ophthalmology Hospital in Port Mourant and the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital. The staff of these facilities highlighted concerns and areas where there can be improvement, to infrastructure and services, to assist in better health care delivery.
Some of the common issues which were highlighted include outdated equipment, limited work space, and poor staff-patient ratio, among others. Minister Lawrence also discovered that buildings which have been built by the regional administration at health facilities and are now ‘white elephants’.
Minister Lawrence said, “We have also been able to enlighten the region that treat health with special gloves so to speak that there are certain
things which they have to take into consideration like ensuring we don’t only use building codes, but that they have to ensure that they involve the standards department of the Ministry of Public Health so that we can ensure that when they’re building a theatre room and they’re build an x-ray room or any place or building or area to provide medical services that it meet those standards.”
The Ministry of Public Health, according to Minister Lawrence has appointed Alex Foster, Social and Welfare Services’ advocate in Region Six, as the Focal Point in the region to the Ministry. Foster is expected to liaise with the Ministry of Public Health and the regional health facilities, ensuring that issues are addressed in a timely manner.
Solutions to address the ongoing shortage of drugs and medical supplies have been continually sought after by the current administration. A number of initiatives including the computerisation of medical records and drugs and material inventory have already been implemented.
The computerised management system which will be put in place will provide detailed data and guidance on drugs and medical supplies from the stage of tendering to distribution and consumption.
By: Delicia Haynes