The Ministry of Health and Medical services says it is still in the process of releasing containers at the Solomon Ports and stocking up on medical supplies to health facilities in the country, including the National Referral Hospital (NRH).

This was in response to an Island Sun article concerning the chronic shortage of medicine and basic medical supplies at the NRH and other health facilities in the country.

The Health Ministry explained that a total of 20 medical containers are currently at the ports facility, and 12 have since been cleared stocking up medical drugs and consumables at the national medical stores (NMS).

“Urgent supplies have been distributed to the provinces immediately after being cleared from containers while others are kept at the NMS pending requests from health facilities.

“These containers are part of the usual annual orders placed with our suppliers overseas for the country for a period of one year including buffer supplies for an additional six months in case of any unforeseen events such as outbreaks, emergencies or disasters,” a statement from the Ministry explains.

The Health Ministry says normally these annual supplies arrive in the month of March and April, however due to COVID-19 restrictions and requirements on international shipping, there has been delays. They say medical supplies for 2021 and 2022 only arrived in June and July this year.

They say with support from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury there is now a standing imprest of SBD$300,000 to ensure payments to release containers of medical supplies can now be made swiftly to avoid such delays in the future.