Drug shortages still exist as 54 medical facilities licensed – CMO
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Shamdeo Persaud has disclosed that 54 medical institutions across the country have received their licences to operate thus paving the way for others to be accepted under the programme after reaching the acceptable standards.
Persaud said that for these institutions to meet the requirements, they must be operating as a health facility within the criteria set out by the Public Health Ministry.
“Through our licensing programme, we were able to licence 54 health facilities across Guyana, both public and private. We’re looking at having all of our facilities at some point in time, adequately licensed, meaning that they would meet all of the standards for operating a health facility within our jurisdiction,” he said.
According to him, there are still circumstances surrounding the shortage of supplies and patients complaining about the fact that they are not getting the required amount of prescription drugs. He is of the view that more can be done to ensure that these resources are managed prudently.
“Issues with supplies still exist and even though the system has improved, we still have some instances of shortages. I think there could be more in terms of how we manage those resources. We still have patients complaining that they’re not getting the required amount of medications. The shortages and difficulties we experience with commodities will get better,” he stated.
The CMO also recognised challenges within the procurement procedure and insisted that the regional administration was granted a sum of money to purchase medications should a shortage exist.
“There have been some challenges with procurement and most of the regions do have a fallback mechanism where they can buy supplies for short periods of time to supplement what the ministry provides,” said Persaud.
Several health centres across the West Coast of Demerara were facing significant drug shortages earlier this year, causing some patients to worry as to whether they would have to purchase basic medications.
The issue started at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) and continued at the Leonora Cottage Hospital and the Meten-Meer-Zorg Health Centre.
Sources at the WDRH confirmed on Thursday that many individuals, primarily senior citizens, were diagnosed with illnesses and were left with no choice but to leave without any medicine.
Junior Public Health Minister Karen Cummings had told this publication that medicinal shortages were also caused as a result of the lengthy procedures at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), but efforts are in progress to eliminate these setbacks.
She also noted that medicines reach Guyana after “metropolitan” countries are supplied. Adding to that, Regional Officers have sufficient funds, should hospitals request additional drugs.