BY ESTHER NURIA
MINISTRY of Health and Medical Services, Undersecretary for Health Care, Greg Silini has responded to call for more information about medicine shortage at the National Referral Hospital.
Reports had indicated that the situation at the NRH had forced patients admitted at the hospital to buy own medication from private pharmaceutical shops.
Greg Silini said the ministry of health has taken up the issues surrounding drug shortage seriously, since it is a potential threat to public health in the country.
“The ministry is working very hard to improve medical supplies and drugs in the country.
“Now the stock of medical supplies and drugs has improved of more than 90%. And the main order for drugs and medical supplies for this year will arrive next month.
However, national medical and drug supplies also depend entirely on public transportation to disseminate them to other health facilities in urban and rural in the provinces,” he added.
Medicine shortages are not a new problem in Solomon Islands but the extent and scope has worsened over recent years.
These can lead to patient harm due to a result of non-treatment, under treatment, the use of less appropriate alternatives and medicines safety issues. Addressing these shortages consumes significant clinical effort and there are financial and logistical impacts on healthcare systems and all stakeholders.
Silini clarified the reasons behind the shortage of medical supplies and drugs last year.
“Why we run out of drugs last year was because the MHMS, Medical Store didn’t procure the main orders for 2018 in 2017.
“Each year, the Ministry puts out annual tender orders of drugs and medical suppliers. But the medical store did not do that in 2017.
“So when the stock for 2017 runs out, there was no replacements in 2018, so that is why there was a widespread of medical supply shortage.”
“We have rectified that by in placing interim orders and emergency orders, so we able to restock supplies,” added.
Last year, the NRH had faced critical drug shortages, resulting in a massive public outcry – forcing government to take action. Initial reports from the relevant ministry stated that the drugs were being procured, but when weeks turned into months the issue became critical.