Patient concerned about antibiotics shortage

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Motootua.

Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Motootua. (Photo: File)

The Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama has assured that they’re working on procurement measures to avoid another shortage of antibiotics at the national hospital.

The Weekend Observer raised the issue with the Minister after a 45-year-old mother from Fa’atoia, Tauta’i Loia, complained about the shortage of antibiotics at the hospital.

“This is an ongoing matter at the hospital and it seems like the Government doesn’t really care about what’s going on from month to month,” Tauta’i said.

“The shortage of these antibiotics is putting patients at risk and our people should be warned about it.

“This is not the first time that our people are facing this kind of problem; we’re talking about life and death here.

“What if our lives depended on these antibiotics? Do we have to wait until another month for another order?

“I’ve heard that they’ve waited until it finished then made a move, I mean this is disgusting and as a citizen of this country, this shouldn’t be happening.

“I don’t have to put into details there many times I went there but the answer is no antibiotics.”

Tuitama said the management is looking at ways to avoid the problem.

“We discussed this during our board meeting yesterday, there should never be any shortages,” Tuitama said.

“I told you, it’s a management issue where you can measure and estimate the daily need, monthly need, six monthly needs.

“So when you order accordingly, you will also have a little in access to cater for emergencies and that will be in a procurement process.

“Remember the tender board is also involved in here because they have to tender out for suppliers to supply the needs for the hospital.”

He made it clear that procurement process “is the one that we are looking at”.

 “We found out yesterday from the audit subcommittee of the board is that we are buying some stuff from expensive suppliers, but there may be cheaper venues overseas where we can order these stocks.

“That is an issue that we are looking at and also we need to have contact with these suppliers especially in Asia, India, Singapore where we are getting a lot of our stuff from.

“New Zealand and Australia are also acquiring those medical supplies from there other suppliers.

 “So they (New Zealand and Australia) doubled up their prices for us, so they put their own profit margin on what they sell to us.

“So we want to cut the middle man here, so those are the procurements issues that we need to look at.”

Asked when the hospital anticipates to stock up on antibiotics, he replied: “I don’t know because we are meeting today at 11 (yesterday).”

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