Following media inquiries and social media postings of our National Referral Hospital (NRH) encountering low supplies and out-of-stock with some medicines including inhaler devices for asthmatic patients, the hospital would like to inform that it is stocking up these supplies.
With inhalers however only a few stock of Inhalers for asthma patients are now available at the NRH pharmacy. These devices are being rationed for severe patients and others will be provided tablet medications or will need to seek prescription at private pharmacies.
Medical drugs including antibiotics and specialist drugs which some of the hospital wards have reported as being low in supply should be back on full stock levels in the next three months.
It is important to note that similar low drug supplies at the hospitals and clinics will be experienced for some time yet throughout the country, due to delays in shipment and clearance at the wharf which MHMS is working hard to address. 20 shipping containers containing medical supplies are at the wharf awaiting completion of clearance before loading to the National Medical Store can take place.
Occasional experiences of shortages of drugs and other medical consumables at NRH and health facilities across the country in the past months and even year are due to delays with the shipment of our annual medical drugs order for the period, 2021 to 2022.
Every year annual orders for medicines and consumables are placed to suppliers overseas. These are estimated to cater for 12 months of consumption and additional six months period as a buffer should unforeseen events such as natural disasters, outbreaks, etc occur. Each year these supplies normally arrive in the country within March and April.
For this year’s order, 2021 – 2022, the supplies have only started to arrive in the past weeks as opposed to the usual arrival time in the first quarter of each year. This is due to COVID-19 restrictions and requirements, making shipment schedules inconsistent.
This has contributed significantly to the occasional shortages and low supply of some medical drugs. In these instances, what health was doing to ensure we do not run out of stock completely for certain medical items of high demand is placing urgent orders to our suppliers overseas for airlift of these drugs to the country. A costly exercise costing the government.
Nevertheless, we were fortunate to receive great help from our bilateral relations, donors, and partners that provided invaluable assistance in this regard. Australia, China, New Zealand, Japan, United States of America, and India including WHO, UNICEF, and World Bank have all played significant roles in many ways either direct or indirect in maintenance of medical stock levels in the country.
In the past weeks and days, we have received most of our 2021 -2022 medical supplies with some more on their way from Australia. Health is working hard to swiftly clear the containers before stocking up our National Medical Store before distribution across the country including NRH commences.
These explanations have been made previously and health is pleased to once again provide the information to everyone so we all understand the current situation of our medical supplies in our country.
Continue to look after ourselves and take every preventative measure seriously to keep us and our families healthy.
For any further media inquiries, please contact Atenia Tahu MHMS Media by phone 7478857 or email ATahu@moh.gov.sb