Free Health Care Drugs Distribution kicks off Nov. 23 for 1,332 Health Facilities

Freetown, Nov. 23, 2015 (MOHS) – The distribution of Free Health Care medicines across the country covering 1,209 peripheral health units and 23 government hospitals starts on November 23, 2015 for all 13 districts in the country. The distribution incorporates over 200 products including life-saving commodities.

drugsPart of the Free Health Care consignment ready for distribution to the districts

Addressing a press briefing at the Central Medical Stores, New England in Freetown, the Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Mr. Bassie Turay noted the significant role played by the media in previous distributions, and during the launch of the Free Health Care in April 2010, and appealed for more support in monitoring the utilization in all health facilities.

drugs1Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Mr. Bassie Turay

The process he said is being conducted by the Ministry of Health and the National Pharmaceutical Procurement Unit (NPPU) with the participation of key stakeholders representing the Police, Office of the National Security (ONS), Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Civil Societies and health development partners. The first trucks are scheduled to leave Freetown for the district on November 23, 2015 with completion of distribution to the health facilities in December 2015. Next distribution starts in February 2016.

The Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Mr. Bassie Turay reiterated government’s continued commitment to ensure that beneficiaries of the Free Health Care Initiative: Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five years continue to get the deserving treatment. He maintained the sustainability of services in all health facilities in the 13 districts. The sustainability of the free health care programme, Mr. Turay said is key in the government’s Nine Months Recovery Programme within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He expressed appreciation over the growing high accessibility of pregnant women, lactating mothers and the under-fives in the government health facilities noting the drop during the height of the Ebola crisis.

Making the briefing, the Managing Director, NPPU, Mr. Michael Jack Lansana said one of the NPPU’s mandate and major responsibilities is to deliver drugs and medical supplies needed to support the National Free Health Care Initiative to improve access to health care for the beneficiaries, disclosing that the current consignment is the 4th quarter distribution for 2015.

drugs2Managing Director, NPPU, Mr. Michael Jack Lansana

One key improvement that has been refined over the last three distributions he told the press, is the move to an informed push system which incorporates direct requests and feedback from District Health Management Teams and public hospitals. This initiative and transition to an informed push system is an important milestone for the progression of the national supply chain system, opined Jack Lansana.

The quantification and procurement process the Managing Director disclosed was coordinated with key donors like USAID and DFID along-side technical support from other partners UNICEF, CAIPA and MSH. The Ministry of Health, NPPU and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development have been working relentlessly to ensure that all current issues are addressed and these types of issues mitigated for posterity.

Other update include the process to explore improvements from paper to electronic reporting for more accurate and timely information on common usage, computer-based system for managing commodities, and improved electronic logistics management system. Storage facility he said remains a major problem.

The briefing was chaired by the Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Jonathan Abass Kamara.