THE PNG government medicines store in Lae has been facing issues with supplies, logistics and reporting, an official says.
Medicines and vaccines for the province were requested on a monthly basis, said the deputy matron of Morobe Family Health Services and coordinator Lina Japu.
“All drugs are ordered based on the usage by the population,” she said.
“We have a stock monitor with a buffer (lower) amount, once we reach that amount we request for new stocks before we really run out.
“On average, stocks from Port Moresby reach us in two to three weeks.
“We inform health facilities to pick up their stocks at the drug house and they find their own way to get them because funds are already provided for them to do that.”
Japu said the drug store had some issues with keeping vaccines and related supplies at required temperatures to avoid damage.
“Towards the end of last year (November) we had only one walk-in refrigerator installed to store all the vaccines. Before that we had been using chest freezers to store the vaccines.
“However, the drug store does not have a standby generator for when the power goes off.
“When the power goes off I come here to put ice packs inside the chest freezers and transfer the vaccines to keep them from damage. The vaccines stay there until the power comes back.”
Logistics has been a setback.
“Sometimes we do not get what we ordered from the main supply in Port Moresby,” Japu said.
“We always have communication problems with the logistics company contracted to deliver our supplies, and this sometimes causes late deliveries.
“Sometimes we get the wrong supplies and we cannot substitute so we do not use the supplies.”
On Tuesday, Japu had only 474 viles of oral polio vaccines (OPV) left so she was ready to order a new stock.
“Reports of OPV usage are not being received instantly so we do not really know the usage for the polio response campaign. We cannot actually calculate how many we have already used,” she said.
“Some facilities do not report their wastage of vaccines or drugs.
“Though we have done the micro plan, the estimated population is over what was planned. We will definitely run out of OPV viles.”
World Health Organisation technical officer Dr Mohammed Salim Reza said the OPV viles would be shipped to Lae from Port Moresby once WHO was notified.
“There is an express service system in place for the campaign that will respond and bring in the vaccines,” he said. THe National