CRITICAL drugs are now in supply and issues with drug procurement are being addressed, says the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Service (MHMS), Dr Tenneth Dalipanda.
Normal drug supplies were disrupted due to a delayed tender process. However, while finalizing the tender, MHMS ensured that critical drugs were still procured.
“There are certain drugs that should never run out,” said Dr Dalipanda. “We have procured a supply of these drugs. The first order has already arrived by air freight and the second order will arrive in the next few days.”
The delay occurred when a review by the MHMS Procurement Team found some inconsistencies with the tender process in late 2017. In the interest of the highest transparency, it was decided to reassess the tender.
“Learning from this experience of the delayed tender, MHMS decided to assign the management of drug procurement to the central Procurement Team, and for the National Medical Stores procurement officer to relocate to MHMS HQ,” Dr Dalipanda said. He reiterated that this change in the procurement process is to ensure that future procurement is transparent and is not delayed, as we are experiencing now.
He advised that the tender process has now been finalized. As mentioned, the first batch of critical drugs has already arrived and the second batch will arrive in a few days. The main supply will arrive in a few weeks.
Dr Dalipanda refuted the claim that the drug delays were caused by MHMS’s decision to centralise procurement. “In fact, the decision to centralise procurement was only made last month when a review revealed that the assessment of the 2017 prequalification had serious discrepancies.
“We must draw on the strengths of all our departments to make sure that drugs are reaching every clinic and hospital in Solomon Islands,” said Dr Dalipanda.
“This new arrangement makes use of the MHMS’ procurement expertise so that NMS can focus on their core business of storing and distributing drugs, an extremely important area which I am confident we can strengthen with dedicated attention.”