Solomon Islands PM says drug shortage due to poor communication problem

Solomon Island's Prime Minsiter, Rick Houenipwela and Ministry of Health and Medical Service Permanent Secretary Dr. Tenneth Dalipanda at the Press Conference on Sunday. Picture: SOLOMON STAR

HONIARA, 16 JULY 2108 (SOLOMON STAR) — Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Hou says the shortage of drugs and essential suppliers at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara is due to poor communication problem and the process involved to get the medications.

He revealed this to the media on Sunday in an urgent press conference.

However, he said the drug shortage situation is now under control.

“We now have all the critical drugs needed at the NRH with the final stocks to be cleared this week,” he said.

PM Hou explained the problem of drug shortages was due to procurement process and lack of communication by staff manning the system in the ministry.

He said some officers failed to communicate with the National Medical Stores after drugs ran out at NRH.

“There are some drugs still left at the National Medical Stores.

“However due to lack of communication, it delays the supply of drugs to NRH,” he said.

Furthermore, PM Hou, said ordering medical drugs is different to other products like noodles because you have to wait for the manufactured companies to produce them first.

Furthermore, PM Hou, said in domestic procurement system, the list of drugs items will have to go through the Ministerial Tender Board and the Central Tender Board for approval.

He said all this process takes time to complete the procurement order.

Despite the hiccups, PM Hou assured the public that everything is under control and dispelled any criticisms in the media.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr Tenneth Dalipanda was also present at the press conference.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary opposition group has reiterated their call for the removal of the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr Tenneth Dalipanda.

This came amidst the current health crisis faced by the National Referral Hospital – the acute medicine shortage.

In a statement, Opposition Leader Manasseh Maelanga said the drug shortage had in actual fact worsened since his call and following several concerns raised by the public urging the government to prioritise it.

“The Opposition Group is gravely concerned that the shortage has prompted potentially harmful mix-up of medication as nurses and doctors work their best to substitute commonly-used drugs for patient treatment,” the statement said.

Yumi Toktok Forum lso reported that, Prime minister Rick Hou has ordered an inquiry into the acute medicine shortage.

Government sources told the social media group that the inquiry will be made into the reasons behind the lack of medicine in the hospitals, since it was first raised a month ago.

“Since then, the PM has been ill advised on the issue and was told the situation was under control until last night when he was made aware of the seriousness of the issue.

“At the same time the health PS has been summoned twice already.

“Government sources said the PM was informed, that the issue is not because of lack of funding but because of discrepancies in procurement processes by ministry officials,” the forum has reported.

It added that, the Government has taken the situation seriously and has done all it can to address the acute medicine shortage which has caused widespread calls to terminate the Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Health Ministry for the predicament.

The government sources told the forum that, the Health minister and his PS are likely to face the axe.

In another twist to the Health crisis, Solomon Business Magazine was told that the National Referral Hospital is not only running out of drugs but it is using expired medicine to treat patients.

“The sensational revelation comes as the hidden drug crisis hits public sphere – with many receiving it with anger.

“The social media has gone viral and there are calls for a united action to bring the problem to government attention,” the online news outlet was quoted, as said.

It was understood that health authorities are now working hard to bring urgent drugs by air and sea in the period from now until September.

More Stories