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The National Medical Stores clarifies that 11 out of 13 containers carrying medical supplies have been recently released from the Solomon Islands Ports facility following intervention by the new Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Paul Popora Bosawai last week.

The 11 containers released so far contain consumables such as cotton wool, crepe bandages, disposal syringes of all sizes for administration medications, and cannulas. Medication in the containers include reproductive health supplies, asthma medications, IV fluids, Medications for management of Parkinson Disease and medications for blood pressure.

The remaining 2 containers of the 13 containers carrying water for injection, hospital disinfectants, and gauze are expected to be released today.

Another batch of medication was flown in yesterday by air freight, and it is expected that in addition to the shipped medication containers, additional medical supplies will be flown into Honiara by plane on a weekly basis.

The statement confirms that officers at the National Medical Stores are currently unloading all containers and are working on domestic distribution to health facilities to all provinces via sea, land and air transport.

According to estimated time of arrival for Medications on the 2023/2024 Tender, NMS should have received all medications by June 2024, however delays in internal shipping meant emergency orders were urgently made to cover gaps.

The NMS acknowledges that there is low or no stock of certain vital antibiotics and antimalarial medication at health facilities across the country and would like to assure that they are working around the clock to rectify the issue by resorting to emergency airfreight in the next few days.

Meanwhile, 4 container consignment have also just arrived on the 5th June 2024, and in liaison and the support of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury via Customs and Excise and the Solomon Islands Ports Authority, the Ministry was able obtain pre-clearance and pre-release of the containers. The Ministry is again working closely with TRADCO to have these containers released today.  So by closure of business today, 6 containers will be released to the NMS warehouse

On that, the Ministry of Health wishes to again sincerely acknowledge the collaboration with our line Ministry of Finance and Treasury (Customs and Excise at MOFT), Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) and shipping agent TRADCO for their cooperation.

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The statement also confirms that additional 40 to 50 containers of Medicines & Consumables from abroad should reach the country over the next few months. These are procurement and order from 2023/2024.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to apologize to those who are severely affected by the shortage of medication caused by the delay of the release of containers from the Ports facility. The Health Minister, Dr Bosawai together with his executive are currently looking into the situation with the intention of streamlining all processes and with a quick turnaround time to ensure timely availability of critical medical supplies and consumables.

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