The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed that there are containers that are yet to be released but are not prioritized since they contain PPEs which are already in stock, thus will be dealt with later.
In a statement today, MHMS says this could be the ones alluded to by Solomon Star front page news article today, 11th October.
The statement explains that the issue of shortages with certain drugs at a given point in time over the past months till today is still due to the impact of delays with international shipment of medical supplies to Honiara that should have arrived in the months of April, May and June 2022.
It says they only arrived in July, August, September and even first week of October, last week. “The delay with arrival is also linked to delays with production as in the case of India and China pharmaceutical companies supplying us with medicines have had to halt production as many of their workers were also sick with COVID-19 in 2021 to early 2022,” the statement says.
It adds, nevertheless, a total of 26 medical containers that arrived in July and August have already been released and distribution have been ongoing with basic and emergency drugs given priority for distribution across the country.
“Distribution by sea in itself also has its own challenges. Irregular shipping services to some provinces and refusal by some passenger vessels to take medical supplies are common reasons for the delays in sending supplies to the provinces,” it says.
The MHMS say it is still working on releasing containers that arrived in September till last week and they contain antibiotics such as Benzyl Penicillin Inj. 5 mega unit, Ceftriaxone inj., and Cloxacillin that have also been raised on social media.
MHMS confirms that Paediatric Cannula for children have also been released and moved to NRH.
“There are also other containers yet to be released but are not prioritized since they contain PPEs which we already have in stock, thus will be dealt with later. This could be the ones alluded to by Solomon Star front page news article today, 11th October,” the statement explains.
MHMS have assessed the payment processes and as mentioned in previous statements, an alternative payment route for swift release of containers from shipping agents is to increase imprest with our National Medical Store so they themselves can expedite payment as soon as supplies arrive at Honiara port.
MHMS says it had successfully discussed this with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury for an increase in NMS imprest from 50,000 SBD to 250,000 SBD. Once this is done, “we should be able to avoid any more delays with the remainder of containers coming in for 2022.”
In the meantime, MHMS is working tirelessly to release few of the containers yet to be released.