New system to eye drug delivery

Editorial

HEALTH Minister Sir Puka Temu’s priority for 2019 is to ensure health facilities do not run short of drugs.
A system will be put in place to ensure all the four area stores have adequate medical stocks.
This is part of his New Year resolution.
He wants to solve the drug shortage in health facilities and to remain in good health and to be happy at all times.
We have witnessed and reported on similar actions taken in the past and most have fallen through the cracks.
Anyway, we will keep track and hold the minister to his resolution.
Hospitals in the country have over the years been affected with shortage of medicines, mostly as a result of an administrative slip-up relating to procurement.
The whip must be cracked now, otherwise, this whole laid-back attitude among some senior officials will continue.
We hope that will be a thing of the past.
We trust gaps have been identified and corrected.
Lessons learnt, it is time now to making the system put in by the minister work.
Health Secretary Pascoe Kase has always maintained the process for ordering and supplying a minimum set of medical supplies across this country was very complex.
It is common knowledge that combating vaccine-preventable diseases remains a major challenge in PNG because of inaccessibility, weak infrastructure and cold chain systems, funding, poverty and social inequities.
Doctors use medicine to save lives and cure diseases and sicknesses.
Without medicine and funding, one cannot expect doctors to help patients.
The rural population of PNG wants access to evidenced-based medicine.
They care not who provides it, as long as it is up to date, timely and has positive outcomes.
Many of the challenges in health care provision are linked to obstacles in other sectors, such as transport, infrastructure, manufacturing, education and security.
One cannot tell our rural medical officers to manage their stock level to last for an intended period, as no one knows when an outbreak can strike.
Again, the Health Department, over time, has always maintained that it was working on improvements in the overall procurement system.
The process of improving the manner in which much-needed medical supplies are delivered to the right place at the right time must continue.
It will hopefully be a workable one in the near future.
Apart from that, it cannot be denied that there are also communication problems with the logistic company contracted to deliver medical supplies, resulting in late delivery.
We understand, a new process of multi-year planning for medical supplies procurement commenced in 2012, supported by increasing budget allocations, but remains hampered by weaknesses in quantification, a critical lack of data on medicines usage and needs, and difficulties in coordinating procurement across “pull”, “vertical” and “push” systems.
All efforts should be on a coordinated approach.
Everyone from national, to provincial and district level should ensure there are sufficient supplies available at the stores.
Request or ordering processes should be made, and there is dispatching, including facilities to store the supplies.
Planning and effective management, as most senior officials are aware of, is important.
It does not take an Einstein to figure something like that out.
Medical supplies (drugs, dressings and equipment) are essential to an effective health service, regardless of how the service is provided or by whom.

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