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Cash disbursement to help curb drugs shortage
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 26: The Ministry of Finance last week approved the Ministry of Health’s request to strengthen the strategic stockpile of medicines and medical supplies by providing a budget of KD 230 million, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting reliable health sources. This comes at a time when the crisis of shortage of many medicines in hospitals and health facilities continues to cast a shadow over the health scene in the country, and urges officials of the Ministry of Health to make more efforts to solve this multilateral and multifaceted crisis. The sources said they expect this amount to be deposited in the ministry’s account this week or next week at the latest.
They explained that the amount will be disbursed before the start of the new budget in early April 2023, provided that it is allocated to new requests for medicines and medical supplies to fill any shortages. During the past few days, the Ministry of Health faced a crisis as a result of the scarcity of many types of medicines, and it began moving to find solutions to overcome the crisis, which was met with widespread popular criticism. According to the sources, the ministry has recently succeeded in providing some types of eye drops, some medicines for diseases associated with the digestive system, nasal drops, medicines for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and skin diseases, and a number of medicines and supplies that are used in major and minor surgeries and for patients in wards in public hospitals, as well as antibiotics in primary health centers during the past week.
The ministry issued a decision some time ago to amend the list of medicines in the ministerial resolution No. 365/1997 to restrict the dispensing of some medicines to Kuwaiti patients and other specific categories of patients, with the number of these items being more than 370 medicinal items. It also completed the electronic link between the medical file and drug dispensing for patients in the pharmacies of 117 dispensaries, and linked four public hospitals – Jaber Al-Ahmad, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Jahra, and Farwaniya – to stop waste, control the process of dispensing medicines, and prevent the recurrence of dispensing them without any medical prescriptions. The ministry is also working on completing the electronic link in other hospitals, as well as linking the dispensing of medicines between hospitals in the private and governmental health sectors.
The sources said the pharmacies of health facilities are working to provide all kinds of medicines to patients, and according to what is delivered to them from the medical warehouse management on a regular basis. In the event that the medicine to be dispensed to the references is not available, there are treatment plans and alternatives that are dispensed by the specialist doctor. These are almost as effective and safe as the original medicine, and do not differ much from it.
The sources explained that the budget of KD 230 million will be allocated to new requests for medicines, and to support the strategic drug stock, so that the stock of any medicine that are not available or have low quantities in warehouses will be increased, for a period of up to more than six months to come, to ensure optimal dealing with any emergencies cases or problems that may be similar to what happened with international factories and pharmaceutical companies recently, and regional shipping and transportation conditions during those crises.
The sources stressed that increasing the storage capacity of medical warehouses by providing storage spaces for medical warehouses in new hospitals, or even studying a proposal to establish medical stores in each governorate is considered a very important matter to appropriately deal with any conditions similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the difficulty in the arrival of medicines or any other medical supplies, indicating that it may take a long time for the required documentary cycle.
They added that the electronic linking of medical files and medicine dispensing to patients will contribute to reducing the amount of waste and dispensing, and controlling medication significantly compared to recent years. When dispensing any medication in a center to any patient currently, it is not dispersed in another center or hospital, before it runs out according to the period specified by the treating physician.