The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) would like to respond to media and public enquiries around medicine stock levels and reports of shortages of some medicines in health facilities in the provinces.
Firstly, the availability of essential medicines and consumables at the National Medical Store (NMS) as of last month stands at 82 percent and 94 percent respectively. Total of 35 items of medicines and 8 consumables were out of stock.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health have this week cleared 13 containers at the Honiara ports, which also contains these medicines, and consumables that have been out of stock. All these should be moved to the shelves of the National Medical Store soon and ready for dispatch to the 2nd level medical stores in the provinces and to health facilities. Health is moving this task up the notches in its priority listing for the coming days.
Regarding anti malaria drugs which have been reported as running out in some of our health facilities across the country, it is important to note that Global Fund, the primary supplier of antimalarial drug for Solomon Islands and other developing countries have experienced some delays with its procurement system, thus delay with getting these drugs into the country.
In the meantime, the NMS had placed an order for a two months’ supply of anti-malaria drugs that has already arrived in country and distribution underway to ensure that our health facilities
Stock availability for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) such as gloves, masks and other consumables stood at 82 percent last month. Development partners, WHO and UNICEF continues to supply the ministry with these since the COVDID-19 Pandemic began and NMS is topping up from time to time when stock level falls.
Incidents of stock outs of certain medicines and consumable in our health facilities do occur from time to time. Most often this is due to a break in the supply chain between the National Medical Store, second level medical stores and our health facilities which often rely on unreliable shipping schedule and stock management at each facility. However as long as the stock availability at NMS remains above 80% stock such gaps could easily be addressed.
Finally, tender evaluation for the 2022 medicines and consumables has been delayed due to the introduction of the new D365 finance system. This needs to be expedited as any delay in awarding the tender before end of December will affect the delivery of 2022 supplies and affect stock availability toward the end of the first quarter and second quarter of 2022.