Liberia: National Drugs Service Begins Third Quarter Distribution of Medical Supplies
Caldwell, Montserrado County – The National Drugs Service (NDS), Tuesday began the loading of medical supplies onto trucks for its third quarter distribution of medical commodities to medical facilities across the country.
Medical supplies to be distributed include, essentials medicine, programmatic drugs and other health commodities.
Leading a tour of the NDS warehouse with journalists, the Managing Director of the NDS, Boakai Boley, stressed that the tour was necessary to keep the public abreast about the NDS progress and challenges as well.
“We do whole distribution and assessment; we want to verify if we supplied the facility with enough commodities and how it will be used. We also do verify the previous distribution to make sure it’s improved; so, we do not have everything perfectly but we are always going to learn from the step before,” Boley stressed.
When asked by our reporter about the issue of claims from the public and medical facilities about drug insufficiently, Mr. Boley stated that because the distribution is done quarterly, facilities might run out of supplies before the assigned time for distribution which is after three months.
“Sometimes, we may not have the medicine in the country, we might not have a specific kind of medicine that they need so they will say no medicine, but it could also just be a single product…it doesn’t mean that all the 52 products that they need/used is not available,” he stated.
He further said “just because they don’t have that one product there will an alarm and rightfully so because they need the tools to do their work effectively and that’s why we’re trying to make sure that our frontliners, healthcare workers have all the tools they need to work to be able to serve the people,” he furthered.
Speaking to reporters through a phone-in conversation, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked every healthcare worker for bringing awareness to what’s happening in the health sector ‘and we want to thank them for returning to work.’
“We are now getting ready to begin the next distribution start-up and we want them all to know that the trucks are coming; as we look for all the other supplies that are supposed to help them to do their work in terms of taking care of all the patients,” Minister Jallah announced.
Minister Jallah however, thanked the supply chain management team working in partnership with the NDS and all other partners for ‘doing such a wonderful job.’
“We want to say thank you; I know that we have more products to distribute than we ever had before and all thanks to USAID so we hope that this will bring relief to the health facilities and to the people as they receive this medication.
When asked on the issue of road accessibility especially in the south-eastern part of Liberia, Min. Jallah gave assurance that even though the roads are bad, her team will ‘brave the storm’ in making sure that the medical supplies reach the facilities.
“I know trucks will be breaking down, trucks will have to be towed out of the mud but I am sure that the team will reach the medication in the various hard to reach areas,” she assured.
Also speaking, the Senior Technical Advisor of Supply Chain Management of USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program, Alben Sibley, explained that his entity’ role at the NDS is to render ‘some’ technical support to the government of Liberia in strengthening the public health sector.
“This has to do with the delivery of critically needed health commodities across the country to public and private facilities as directed by the Ministry of health. With the support we give to the government, we directly deliver to county depo and a large part of our support is logistical even though we support the government in the procurement and delivery of commodities,” explained Mr. Sibley.
According to Sibley, in the past USAID’s role was to supply program drugs to the Ministry but through an appeal by the government of Liberia, the US government awarded 1.7 million to Liberia for the purchase of essential medicine.
“And program drugs are the ones widely used…are the Malaria, TB and HIV drugs and the essential medicine has been delivered to the government of Liberia and the CMS is responsible to deliver this to the Liberia people,” revealed Sibley.