Essential Fluids for Distribution to Health Care facilities.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) confirms that 8 containers of medication, mostly fluids, have been cleared from the wharf and currently being mobilized from the wharf, ready to be distributed to health facilities, including the National Referral Hospital.
The confirmation follows reports on both print and social media questioning the Ministry on what actions have been taken to deal with the shortage of saline and other fluids at health care centers around the country, including the National Referral Hospital.
As alluded to earlier in our previous statements, the availability of essential drugs and non-consumables in the country is affected by three things (i) procurement from the international market, (ii) fast release from ports authority after they get to the country, and (iii) rapid distribution to NRH, HCC and all provinces. Delays in any of these three areas will compromise the stocks of medicines and non-consumables available in our health facilities.
In this instance, payment for the 8 containers, held up at the wharf were made last year in September 2023, however additional detention/holding fees by the shipping agency, were later charged, hence the delay by the agency to hold onto the containers and not have them released until the payments were done. In this case, the service provider required all payments to be made upfront before the release of the containers.
Payments for these charges were processed when the Ministry of Finance resumed last week for official business. The payments have been processed and remitted to the shipping agent yesterday and has been received by the service provider as of today.
While NRH Pharmacy has some normal saline in stock as of midday today and had already been distributed, arrangements are now being made to move the containers this afternoon from the wharf to the National Medical Store, where essential consumables (including the essential fluids) will then be subsequently be distributed to health facilities including Provincial Hospitals.
The Ministry of Health acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury for expediting the payment process and further acknowledges the understanding and cooperation of our stakeholders, including the Shipping Agencies.
– MHMS PRESS RELEASE