Health minister issues decision to ‘axe’ board of directors of Public Authority for Food & Nutrition

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Medicine shortage worsens; insufficient budget blamed

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 11: Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Al-Awadi issued a ministerial decision to terminate the Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition (PAFN) in compliance with the directive of the Council of Ministers, reports Al-Jarida daily. In August this year, the council instructed the ministers to terminate the boards of directors in the entities under their supervision in a bid to develop the work mechanism in public institutions.

Meanwhile, the drug shortage crisis worsened, and it cast a shadow on the Ministry of Health in an unprecedented way, and it became the focus of a parliamentary threat of accountability if action was not taken to quickly develop the required solutions to alleviate the suffering of patients, reports Al-Qabas daily. And at a time when responsible sources warned of the delay in developing solutions, the daily revealed there is a severe shortage of some vital medicines that are prescribed to a wide range of patients on a daily basis, which threatens health risks and the exacerbation of some cases, pointing out that some citizens resort to buying medicines online from the private sector which puts a burden on their finances, and even orders medicines from neighboring countries.

The sources revealed that there is a weakness in the drug budget, which requires an increase in order to end the crisis completely. The sources pointed out that the annual budget (estimated at about 520 million dinars for the fiscal year 2021/2022) is used to pay previous medicines bills supplied by local companies, which makes it difficult to provide new quantities of medicines.

The sources confirmed that the current budget requires an increase of between 200 and 250 million dinars, to ensure that challenges and obstacles to supplying medicines, especially new ones, are overcome. According to the sources, the annual budget for medicines rose to approximately 520 million dinars, after it was 490 million in the previous fiscal year. However, the increase in population and the launch of new hospitals and health centers require an increase in the budget, indicating that these facilities need to provide all kinds of medicines and medical supplies and tests kits for laboratories before their opening.

The sources pointed to a number of challenges facing the import of medicines from abroad, most notably the small quantities that reach Kuwait, compared to what the Ministry of Health requests from international companies and local agents and blamed the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, which still casts a shadow on global factories, the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the increase in the cost of pharmaceutical manufacturing on companies, and global shipping and transportatio

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