Medicines arrive

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MORE than 2700 medical kits which have arrived in the country will be distributed to all 1600 health centres and aid posts this month, says Health Minister Sir Puka Temu.
The kits, which arrived in 25 shipping containers, include analgesics, anti-infective, anti-malarials, disinfectants and antiseptics, water purification tablets, bandages, needles and intravenous administration sets.
He said the fresh supplies should be more than enough to address the shortage of “critical medicine including antibiotics, anti-malarials and essential items health workers need every day”.
It is the first of five shipments the Health Department is expecting from its supplier Borneo Pharmaceutical Pacific Limited this year.
Sir Puka, who visited the area medical store at Badili in Port Moresby yesterday with Health Secretary Pascoe Kase, said every sick person seeking treatment at any health facility had the right to receive the medicine they needed.
“We have faced challenges in getting drugs to the right facilities on time. There are reforms underway in the department to ensure we address them,” he said.
Sir Puka said of the 2764 medical supplies kits, 771 were for health centres and 1993 for aid posts.
“As we prepare to deliver these kits to aid posts and health centres, this is the beginning of the actions the Government has promised –that health will remain a priority,” he said.
Sir Puka said the kits had arrived only five months after the contract was signed with the supplier Borneo Pharmaceuticals Pacific, to whom “we haven’t provided the entire funding to bring the supplies in”.
He said four local companies had been identified to distribute the kits.
“Distributors will be awarded contracts next week. The technical evaluation committee will meet to ensure that compliance is done,” he said. “I expect that before the end of Feb, these kits will be distributed to all the facilities around the country.”
He said the distributors would create job opportunities for locals.
On concerns about the procuring of “fake drugs”, he said the contractor had made sure that the pharmaceutical company supplying the medicine were recognised by the World Health Organisation.
“They have ISO certificates. Those requirements are standards that many governments follow,” he said.
“Our medical teams went to China (one of the countries supplying medicine) and came back satisfied.
“At home we have also established a drug testing laboratory. So we have two systems to check to ensure the quality.”