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Central Medical Stores inferno…

Over US$1m worth of drugs destroyed

By Patrick J. Kamara

Minister of Health and Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Kargbo, has told newsmen at the ministry’s conference room that last Friday’s fire outbreak at the Central Medical Stores at New England Ville destroyed drugs worth US$1.727 million.

Health Minister, Miatta Kargbo

Health Minister, Miatta Kargbo

Addressing journalists yesterday, Ms. Kargbo said that store No.3, which was affected by the inferno, hosted cost recovery drugs, serviceable equipment devices, and expired drugs.

She reiterated that the outbreak did not affect free health care drugs and that according to their inventory, the cost recovery drugs items were about one hundred and eighty-seven (187), including consumable drugs, noting that the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, but the Sierra Leone Police and the National Fire Force have been given the task to investigate its cause.

She said that cost recovery drugs were supplied in January and those that were destroyed were meant for the Lumley hospital and buffer stocks.

 “The loss of the cost recovery drugs cannot affect us across the country. The one that was in the store was for Lumley hospital as they have no store. But we are working with our development partners to see how we can replace the buffer stocks,” she said, adding that United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has expressed willingness to replenish the drugs.

It could be recalled that last Friday a mysterious fire consumed a store at the Central Medical Stores, destroying properties worth millions of dollars. The minister has tried to deflect the blame by insisting that the drugs destroyed were not part of stock meant for the free health care program, but the cost recovery unit.

Whatever the case, the incident is still a great loss to the ailing health sector, which still has many lapses and suffers from massive corruption, especially in the procurement and distribution of drugs.