Drug shortages, pilfering: Don’t blame the RHO’s blame the Minister, procurement system- Jagdeo

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In light of the blame being placed on Regional Health Officers (RHO’s) for the “pilfering of drugs and medical supplies” within the Public Health sector, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday asserted that it is the procurement system and the Minister of Public Health who should be held responsible.

Opposition Leader Dr Bharat Jagdeo

“It’s not the people who are stealing the drugs. It’s the procurement system and when the Minister directing who to buy it from at a higher price in breach of all the tender laws of the country,” he told media operatives.

On Wednesday, following a three days Regional Health Officers (RHO) meeting hosted at Lake Mainstay Resort in Region 1, the Regional Health Services (RHS) Director, Dr Kay Shako was recorded as saying that the low circulation of critical items for patients is as a result of the ‘pilfering of drugs and medical supplies’ within the Public Health sector.

Shako further noted, according to a press statement released by the Public Health Ministry, that her department is aware of those behind the reprehensible behaviour and they should not be surprised when the police intervene.

According to her, putting an end to the theft and wastage of drugs and medical supplies will improve Guyana’s healthcare delivery system.

However, just last month, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan read the riot act to various heads of budget agencies, permanent secretaries and regional heads at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, where he questioned the reason for the lack of performance from certain ministries.

In specific, he pointed out the increased allocations to the health sector which apparently did nothing to tame the continuous drug shortages.

“Why do we have increasing allocations to the health sector, but continued drug shortages and less hospital inspections than previous years? Health accounts for 12.5 per cent of the national budget, in 2018. What intervention within the budget proposal will resolve this conundrum of increasing allocations but declining availability?” he probed.

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