‘Stock-take good for medical stores’

National, Normal

THE stock-take of medical supplies conducted at all area medical stores (AMS) in the country is vital and timely and will help curb future overspending and help prioritise related issues in line with the health reforms, Health secretary Dr Clement Malau said last week.
Dr Malau was responding to queries regarding the department’s recent announcement that Government area medical stores would be closed from Dec 7 to Jan 1 for stock-take and this would affect the supply of vital drugs to the public.
Dr Malau highlighted last Tuesday that under these reforms adequate supply and cheaper but effective procurement and distribution of medical supplies were the departments priorities.
He stressed that accountability and efficiency were paramount but could not specify amounts of money spent every year to buy drugs and to ensure its distribution.
The annual stock-take ensured that AMS do not keep certain supplies especially drugs in large quantities till they reached their used-by dates.
Provincial and district health facilities were directed by department circulars advising them to order early so they received by this month and to ensure they control their usage of drugs during this time.
Last week, The National called various health authorities if the stock would impact drug availability at their
health facilities.
It found that in the New Guinea Islands and Southern regions, health facilities were expected to receive all their medical supplies by the end of this month starting this week to keep them going until next January.
Port Moresby AMS manager Jonesh Wangi said during the closure they would still be attending to emergency orders and supplies being sent out now should last at least two months which covers any immediate shortage during the three-week stock-take.
The St Mary’s Vunapope Hospital in East New Britain province, which has been busy for the past months since services at Nonga Hospital were scaled down, said they had put their order in with the AMS for drug supplies and would receive them this week.
Meanwhile, the Wabag General Hospital in Enga province said this week that while it was fully stocked with medical drugs, it might experience shortage of oxygen tanks.
Hospital chief executive officer Salan Ere said the hospital was ordering surplus.
 Mr Ere said oxygen was in high demand with the hospital placing orders every two weeks, adding surgical and operating ward supplies would be affected as well as laboratory agents, drugs and IV drips and could be forced to buy from private pharmaceutical companies.