Government of Liberia Revamps Health Sector with Essential Drugs
Monrovia – As part of efforts to meet up with the many daunting challenges facing the health sector, the Government of Liberia on Tuesday, May 28, disclosed that it has brought into the country “sufficient essential drugs worth over US$3 million”.
Addressing journalists at the National Drug Service (NDS) Head Office in Caldwell, both the Minister of Health Dr. Wilheimina Jallah and the National Drugs Service Managing Director Boakai Boley said the drugs are enough to be distributed in all of the 15 counties.
“Through the efforts of President George Weah and the Finance Minister and all of our development partners we were able to procure a lot of essential drugs…more drugs than we have had in the past,” Dr. Jallah said.
At some time during the visit at the NDS Head Office, journalists toured the facility where the drugs are kept.
Ten containers of drugs were offloaded and placed into the storage, while an additional 10 containers of drugs were not discharged from the containers.
Also, additional two containers are still on the way making it 22 containers, according to the NDS Managing Director.
Challenges in Distributing Drugs
Despite the coming in of the huge consignment of drugs, the issue of distribution and how to secure drugs from being misappropriated or stolen remain paramount concerns for the health sector.
Minster Jallah said the Ministry of Health is putting in some mechanism for the drugs to reach to the end users.
According to her, they are going to work with county authorities to make sure that when the drugs leave from the central medicine store, it goes directly to the various county depots.
She added that through the support of Global Fund, funding will be given to county health officers and the county pharmacists to be able to distribute the drugs from the county depot to various hospitals and clinics.
“We will be working with the caucus of each county, the superintendents of each county and inspectors from the Finance Ministry. When the drugs arrive, we will make sure that all of these people are present to receive the drugs,” she said.
“And we will not be joking about arresting people when they steal the drugs. When we find you, we are going to turn you over to the proper authority.”
“We are putting in all of our energies into this round of drugs just to make sure that drugs will not be one of the things that will be on our list to say no drugs,” the Health Minister said.
According to her, the drugs, when distributed, will last for three months before additional supply can be provided.
Distribution Starts Early June
Meanwhile, the NDS Managing Director called on healthcare workers, who will be receiving the drugs, to make sure it is administered and stay in the hospitals or clinics.
According to him, the request from each county determines the number of drugs that said the county will receive.
“The first truck leaves on June 5th. We have enough medications to supplies in all of the 15 counties,” Boley said.
The first round of distribution, he added, will be to the Southeastern part of the country.
“We want to start with the Southeast because we want to make sure that these trucks go, make their deliveries and get back before we have our challenges with the road that is our trucks getting stuck-up two or three days and they cannot get to their destination,” he said.