The provincial health authority is worried about delays in medical supplies reaching some rural aid posts and health centres in Morobe Province.
The delays are mainly due to the logistics contractor not receiving funding from the Department of Health on time.
Health officers said the contractor, Global Customs and Forwarding Limited, was allegedly not doing a good job in distributing medical supplies and in some instance, had delivered to wrong health facilities.
As a result of the delays, four districts were now facing a critical shortage of drugs and other medical consumables.
The authority wants the logistics agency to do an urgent distribution of supplies into Kabwum, Menyamya, Finschhafen and Tewae-Siassi districts.
Provincial health program adviser Micah Yawing is demanding that the contractor, a supplementary distributor of medical kits in Morobe, deliver the supplies immediately.
Mr Yawing said in a letter to the contracted distributor that there was a critical supply situation faced in the four districts.
“There is a surge in patient admissions at major health centers and hospitals due to medical supply shortage and there have been disease outbreak situations recently experienced in Kabwum, Finschhafen, Huon, Bulolo, Nawaeb and Menyamya.
“The allocations are to ensure sufficient supplies are available at the facilities to enable coverage at multiple facilities in urban areas,” Mr Yawing said. It was claimed that the distribution contractor had not conducted any delivery operations into the four districts in the past three months.
Another provincial health officer claimed that the logistics contractors were engaged by the Health Department without the provincial authority’s knowledge.
“Department of Health is awarding contracts without our knowledge and the contractors are not properly doing the distribution, and this is evident because the medical supplies for Menyamya have been dropped off at Bulolo and for Semo in Tewae-Siassi was left at Lablab,” the officer said.
He said the delays in the movement of the supplies were one of the causes of increase in health issues in the districts.
He said that during a recent malaria outbreak in the Garaina area of Wau-Bulolo district, there were no medicines to treat the sick.He said in this case the outbreak which could have been treated and controlled at an early stage affected more than 169 people.
Global Customs and Forwarding Limited Momase regional project manager Romney Katawara said they were anticipating operational funding to be cleared today to carry out the distribution.
“I have discussed with them that our operation funding will be in by tomorrow (today) and by Friday we will finalise our schedules and next week we should start dispatching kits for Finschhafen, Siassi and Menyamya…this is a priority,” Mr Katawara said.
Mr Katawara confirmed that the delay in distributing the medical kits was due to funding issues by the Health Department.
“We had a three month shortage but the first lot of supplies were distributed thus in the actual tender’s specification, it takes six-seven weeks for distribution but because we delayed and partly the Health Department delayed us with funding, we only covered five to six districts only.
“We were not able to fund the distribution because the next lot of money did not arrive in time for us to distribute,” he said.
“Our contract was renewed in March 2018 and our main cause of the delay is when we wait for funding from the Department of Health to get the medical kits out to the districts,” Mr Katawara said.
He said that dropping off medical kits for one health facility in another area was not intentionally done but because of transport issues, the medical kits are stored in a central storage place until transportation is sorted for delivery to the right facility. “For Bulolo we distributed the kits accordingly, while due to the road condition into Menyamya we were not able to deliver as we would need a land cruiser to take the kits in. So we usually leave the kits at Kol mountain (it being a central spot) and hire vehicles to take the drugs into the district and again, funding is one contributing factor to the delay,” Mr Katawara said. Global Customs & Forwarding Limited is a supplementary agent to the main distributors of medical procurement from the area medical store to the health facilities throughout the province as contracted by the Health Department. And according to its contract, the logistics company was only to deliver medical kits when the main contractor runs low with stock.
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