Supply of medicine, accessories being streamlined

Health minister says govt will provide free medicines to patients at public sector hospitals

Our Correspondent July 13, 2017

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafique said the procurement, supply and distribution of medicine and health equipment to public sector hospitals was being standardised.

“We are bringing a robust and transparent supply chain management system which will not only help eliminate the loss incurred due to expiry of medicines, but also ensure qualitative and quantitative supply to end users.”

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Salman issued this statement while speaking to a symposium at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Wednesday. The symposium on Significance of Public Health Supply Chain Management was organised by UHS in collaboration with USAID Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) programme.

It is part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the two organisations at the end of the symposium. According to the agreement, UHS and USAID Global Health Supply Chain Programme will collaborate to initiate diplomas/short courses and masters degrees leading to PhD programme in supply chain management.

In the first phase, a three credit hour module of supply chain management has been incorporated in the Masters degree in public health programme of the University.

Salman said it was the top priority of the government to provide free medicines to patients in public sector hospitals every year. He added it was the prime responsibility of authorities to make the process of purchase, supply and distribution of medicines completely transparent.

“Accountability has been brought in at all levels to ensure medicines purchased are reaching the needy,” he said.

The minister acknowledged USAID and UHS’ support to the Punjab government to institutionalise the public health supply chain management system.

He expressed that the collaboration between the two organisations and initiation of new courses would benefit officials on all levels of the public sector.

“This skilled workforce will help the government machinery to forecast, quantify, process and store quality health commodities and distribute them to poor and marginalised communities,” Salman added.

Federal Secretary for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Muhammad Ayub Sheikh congratulated Punjab government and UHS for taking this much needed initiative and introducing training programme on public health supply chain management.

He said that on the federal level, a new vaccine management system has been introduced which was appreciated internationally.

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UHS Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Junaid Sarfraz Khan was confident that the course would use the best global practices for forecasting and quantification, procurement, warehousing, inventory management and create a legacy of scientific and judicious methods in institutions.

USAID Global Health Supply Chain Programme Country Director Dr Muhammad Tariq highlighted the importance of introducing supply chain management courses and said the programme was working closely with the Health and Population Welfare departments.

Population Welfare Department Secretary Dr Ismat Tahira said a key way to improve access to medicines was to tackle challenges facing local production and supply chain management.


Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2017.


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