The hospital is stocking up on medical supplies


20 shipping containers with medical supplies are at the dock awaiting customs clearance before being transferred to the National Medical Store.

The National Referral Hospital (NRH) has now stocked up on medicines and inhalers which were initially in short supply.

However, only a few stocks of inhalers for asthma patients are now available at the NRH Pharmacy and will be rationed for severe patients while others will receive medicine in tablets or have to seek prescriptions from private pharmacies.

Medications, including antibiotics and specialty drugs, which some hospital wards have reported to be in short supply, are expected to be back in stock within the next three months.

It is important to note that stocks of similar drugs in hospitals and clinics will still be low for some time across the country, due to shipping and customs clearance delays at the dock that MHMS is working to resolve.

20 shipping containers with medical supplies are at the dock awaiting customs clearance before being transferred to the National Medical Store.

The occasional experiences of shortages of drugs and other medical consumables at NRH and health facilities across the country over the past few months and year are due to delays in the shipment of the annual drug order for the period 2021 to 2022.

Each year, annual orders for drugs and consumables are placed with foreign suppliers. These are estimated to cover 12 months of consumption and an additional six months as a buffer in case of unforeseen events such as natural disasters, epidemics, etc. Each year, these supplies normally arrive in the country in March and April.

For this year’s order, 2021-2022, supplies only started arriving in the last few weeks, contrary to the usual arrival time in the first quarter of each year. This is due to COVID-19 restrictions and requirements, making shipping schedules inconsistent.

This has contributed significantly to occasional shortages and low supply of some drugs. In these cases, what health was doing to ensure that we did not completely run out of stock for certain high demand medical items was to place rush orders to our overseas suppliers for air shipment of these drugs to the country. A costly exercise that is costly to the government.

Nevertheless, we have been fortunate to receive great help from our bilateral relations, donors and partners who have provided invaluable assistance in this regard. Australia, China, New Zealand, Japan, the United States of America and India, including WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank, have all played important roles in many regard, directly or indirectly, in maintaining medical stock levels in the country.

Over the past few weeks and days we have received most of our 2021-2022 medical supplies and others from Australia. Health is working hard to quickly clear containers before filling our national medical store before distribution begins across the country, including NRH.

These explanations have been made previously and health is happy to provide the information again to everyone so that we all understand the current situation of our medical supplies in our country.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and take all preventive measures seriously to keep us and our families healthy.

Source: Press Release, MHMS

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