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PS: Medical stores at MCMH well stocked

PS: Medical stores at MCMH well stocked

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The Central Medical Stores are well stocked with drugs and equipment, and any shortage of a particular drug at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) has nothing to do with this country being unable to pay its suppliers.{{more}}

Luis deShong, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, told SEARCHLIGHT on Sunday that because of the importance of having pharmaceuticals available, “government does not hesitate to clear our bills for drugs and medical supplies”.

deShong spoke to SEARCHLIGHT in response to comments by SEARCHLIGHT columnist “One Love” Bassy Alexander, who said in his column on Friday, that there are no drugs or x-ray film at the hospital.

“I am a bit disturbed that Bassy should state in his column that doctors are not inclined to write prescriptions at the hospital because there are no drugs there. That’s not quite the case,” deShong said.

St Vincent and the Grenadines receives drugs through the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Pharmaceutical Procurement Service (OECS PPS), and usually, orders are filled quite promptly, deShong said.

“If there is a shortage of a particular drug, it is because the suppliers have not yet forwarded it. In addition, whenever there is a stockout of any drug, we can borrow from the other territories while we await our order from the companies.”

deShong also emphasized that SVG does not owe the PPS.

As at October 19, this country’s balance with the service was zero, he said.

“Our last payment was approximately $1 million, last week,” the permanent secretary said.

“We are just waiting on delivery.”

deShong said X-ray film has been ordered.

“I am told by the manager of the Central Medical Stores, an order has been placed, which we are awaiting; it should be here by next week, and that’s the reason why we don’t have the film. It’s not that we haven’t paid for them; we have placed an order.”

When asked if the orders are not being placed in a timely manner, to ensure that the hospital does not run out, deShong said, “I wouldn’t say that.

“I think that the Medical Stores place the order when they note that the stocks are going down, but very often, we just have to wait. There are usually delays on the other side of the fence where suppliers might take some time to forward the stocks to us. But our Central Medical Stores is flooded with drugs and medical equipment. It may be a case of a specific drug being in need, but this may be because it is on order, or there is a stock out.

“Every effort is made. What is done, they would also touch base with the out district hospitals and all the clinics to see if they have and we get them. That has happened since I’ve been there. We have had to bring in drugs and other stuff from other districts to be used at Milton Cato until we get our stocks replenished.”

He, however, said while the balance of SVG with the PPS is zero, this is not the case for all the OECS members, and this may be a factor in the delayed delivery of pharmaceuticals.

“When some territories are in default with their payments, even though others have zero balances, the suppliers ‘play hardball’ with everyone,” deShong said.

He also said wastage and pilferage at the workplace, though not widespread, also affect the availability of drugs and medical supplies at our health facilities.

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