Although $6.5B has been earmarked for the procurement of drugs under the public health sector in this year’s budget, it still would be insufficient to meet the demands of the health facilities throughout the country and therefore will result in greater drug shortages in 2016.
This is according to the Opposition’s Shadow Public Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony who at a media briefing today stated that the health system in Guyana is ‘really in a crisis’ and this had been forewarned by the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) during the 2015 budget debates.
“We warned that we are going to get here but nobody took us seriously because instead of having the Ministry of Heath centrally procuring the drugs they have now put the drugs’ budgets into the regions and the regions , we told them then, they don’t have the capacity to be able to procure drugs for the system…we are told by various reports in the media that more than $600M went back last year, that is people were not able to buy the drugs from these regions…when you look through the budget from the actual and the revised figures, millions of dollars have gone back while poor people in this country cannot get access to drugs, it is the same thing they are doing in this budget,” Dr Anthony lamented.
He argued that while the APNU+AFC coalition can boast about pumping $6.5B into the public health sector for purchasing drugs this is not an actual feat, because when that figure is dis-aggregated, of the total sum there will be $3B allocated for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The Shadow Public Health Minister explained that of the remaining $3.5B almost $2B has been allocated to service all 10 administrative regions in the country and this is far from enough to cater for the needs of the masses.
“When you go region by region you can see how little these regions are getting, imagine when you break it down, what it is turning out to be it is about GYD $3,000 per person for the year. That obviously is not enough in some of these regions. So while we might boast about an allocation it is how you have disaggregate it, and what it is that you’re buying and how you are going to be buying it,” he declared.