Govt begins drugs procurement process

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 25, 2015-

The government looks to select companies for procurement of emergency drugs by Sunday, according to health officials.The Logistics Management Division (LMD), under the Department of Health Services (DoHS), said review process of companies for selection was underway. A total of 22 companies had submitted proposals for supply of emergency medicines.

The Ministry of Health and Population had sought a fast-track medicine procurement in a bid to ease supply of drugs. The country has been reeling under acute shortage of life-saving medicines and medical equipment due to the ongoing protests in the Tarai region and the unofficial blockade imposed by India.

The LMD plans to procure 105 types of essential drugs worth Rs220 million for now. Also on the procurement list are 80 other items that the ministry intends to distribute for free through health posts, primary health care centres and district hospitals.

Dr Bhim Tinkari, chief of LMD, said domestic companies and agents of international companies have bid for the supply of vital drugs and other medical items.“We are reviewing the cost details and other specification before awarding a contract. The companies should comply with our cost details as we cannot afford to pay high prices for drugs,” said Dr Tinkari. “If everything pans out as planned, we hope to award the contract by Sunday.”

The winning company will be required to deliver drugs within a month. The previous contractors had failed to import medicines due to the prolonged Tarai crisis, leading to the shortage of drugs in government health centres.

According to the LMD, medicines for eye ailments, zinc tablets and ointments have been out of stock even as they were gradually sending out the drugs in bits to various government stores. It has been ferrying goods to all the five regional medical stores and a third consignment is slated to be sent on Sunday. The regional medical stores, based on the need, send the drugs to District Public Health Offices that in turn distribute them to Primary Health Care Centres and Health Posts.Earlier, the LMD had distributed drugs and medical supplies, including emergency drugs and surgical equipment supported by

Non-Government Resident Association, to various hospitals in and outside Kathmandu Valley.

AI: Ensure supply of essential drugs

Amnesty International has urged the government to take “urgent steps’ to ensure supply of essential drugs and medical items to hospitals.In a statement on Wednesday, the rights organisation has alerted the concerned authorities to impending risks as the temperature has dipped below zero degree Celsius.

“People most at risk are those living in poverty, the elderly and the young and those suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” the rights body said in the statement, calling on the government to take immediate action to comply with its international obligations and guarantee access to the essential medicines and other goods necessary to ensure people’s human rights to life and health.

After more than three months since the start of disruptions to the flow of goods at the India-Nepal border amid ongoing protests against the new constitution, there is a critical shortage of essential medicines and services. “The Nepali authorities’ slow and inadequate action to ensure the continued flow and access to essential medicines is putting people’s lives and health at risk,” it said. The lack of fuel has further exacerbated the situation, with ambulances and vehicles carrying medical supplies unable to deliver services.“Regardless of the border situation, the Government of Nepal has to do all in its power to ensure it upholds its obligations under international human rights treaties it has signed, including protecting people’s human right to life and health,” the statement added.

Published: 25-12-2015 09:13

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