Staff: Malau must explain doubts

National, Normal

The National, Friday, April 29, 2011

A STAFF from the Department of Health wants Health secretary Dr Clement Malau to explain why he believes the department’s tender process is not transparent and delivering medical supplies as intended.  
The staff member, who did not want to be named, said Malau had accused staff of collaborating with suppliers.
“That is totally misleading,” he said.
It is understood the tender procedure used by the department was recommended by AusAID under the pharmaceutical upgrade project in 2001.
“Malau must explain to PNG citizens why he said the medical supply tender process is not transparent, he is contradicting AusAID’s recommendation,” he said.
He said if Malau “is a true manager of the Health Department, he should come down to staff level to find out the problem and what is really going on”.
The staff member said Malau’s call for the out-sourcing of the medical supply process was suspicious because he had not explained how the out-sourcing would solve the nation’s chronic drug shortages.
He said the out-sourcing of the medical supply process would cause more problems, including:
* Medical items would be bought at higher prices because of multiple manufacturers;
* There would be loss of employment for PNG citizens; and
* A loss of revenue for PNG.
“He must be held directly responsible for the consequences of drugs shortages in hospitals and other health facilities,” he said.
AusAID head in PNG Stephanie Copus-Campbell said AusAID took its commitment seriously to support PNG to improve the quality and quantity of health services across the country.
She said AusAID supported the tender process adopted in the health sector.
She said if it was followed correctly, “it is an important link in the chain to getting more drugs to the people who needed them”.
Copus-Campbell said when tendering procedures were not followed as intended, “transparency is compromised and this seriously undermines the ability to buy and distribute medicine.”
“Australia will continue to support PNG deliver better health services, including helping the department ensure tendering procedures to buy and distribute medicines are used as intended.
“This will lead to more people being able to access life-saving medicines, getting skilled medical attention, more children being immunised and less women dying in childbirth,” she said.
Attempts to get comments from Malau were unsuccessful.