The Ministry of Health has managed to get in medical supplies needed at the health facilities around the country by getting some freight flights and 8 shipping containers.
This has resulted in surgeries continuing at government hospitals around the country.
The surgeries are based on the priority list as there was a backlog of cases.
Acting Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong confirms that the IV drips and IV cannulas have arrived and have also been distributed around the country.
High blood pressure medication, Enalapril and x-ray films have also arrived and Doctor Fong says they have been distributed to all the health facilities.
Other items include Hydrocortisone, Hydrochlorothiazide tablets, Flucloxacillin, Midazolam, Fentanyl and Dexamethasone.
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete also confirms that $3 million has been allocated in the budget to have digital x-rays at the different facilities in the country.
This will also address the issue regarding x-ray films.
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says the majority of the medicines that were in short supply due to the chronic shortages worldwide are now all in stock however the ministry is mindful that they are now catering for thousands of people who are no longer using private health services.
Doctor Waqainabete says if you look at the health care reports from the previous years, up to 20% of Fiji’s population was mostly utilising private health services.
He says during COVID-19 that has also hit the economy, about 115,000 to 200,000 people have been affected, and almost all these people that were using private health care are now all coming into the public health service.
Doctor Waqainabete says it is their role to provide the free health service and they will continue to do so.
The Health Minister says the global shortages have resulted in the increase of essential prescription medicines including antibiotics.
He says they had in place a tender process where they tendered and had our drugs supplied on a 5-year basis.
Doctor Waqainabete says most of these pharmaceutical companies supplying the medicines have reneged on that and they want Fiji to break the agreement as they want to increase their prices. He says the shortage is not only for the drugs but also the raw material, labour costs, border closures, lockdowns and movement restrictions.
He says the big countries are also beginning to stockpile medicines and telling companies to prioritise their countries.
Doctor Waqainabete says they are continuing to push to build a health resilient procurement system to be able to meet the needs of our nation.
He says COVID has had a negative effect on the supply chain management for medicine and in mitigation, they are remodelling the supply chain through the development and implementation of a supply chain management reform which plans to address the service needs and meet the demands of all Fijians.
Australia is also involved in supporting Fiji on how we can best reform the supply chain management system.
Doctor Waqainabete also says they are looking at changing the current digital set up and have access all the way to the nursing station to ensure the continued access for drugs and the particulars of the patients.
He also says the government has a free medicine program to further improve the availability of medicines and there are 142 items in the scheme.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations