‘No proper storage and inventory of drugs at Hospitals’
January 30, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
A systems and processes review carried out by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has revealed that there were no proper storage and inventory of drugs at Hospitals across Sierra Leone.
Because of several complaints received about the mismanagement of drugs and other medical supplies, the ACC commissioned a review, primarily focusing on the storage and distribution aspect of the management cycle from 2015-2018.
Hospitals, government medical stores at New England Ville and other healthcare facilities were visited by a team from the commission to know the status of drug distribution chain.
According to the Head of Systems Unit at the ACC, Samuel Marrah, the review was aimed at examining the various structures at the medical stores and other relevant stakeholders, with a view of identifying and assessing their levels of vulnerability, and proffering appropriate actions to promote efficient service delivery.
He was speaking in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance during the official launch of the review report titled: “Strengthening integrity in the management of drugs and other medical and related services in government medical facilities”.
Presenting the findings, Mr. Marrah said the team discovered that drugs were stored in random places with some even taken to private homes.
He said they recommended for hospital management to ensure that drugs and medical supplies were stored and preserved in a conducive environment, while also putting in place effective inventory control.
According to him, they discovered that some medical stores in Freetown were in poor physical state with huge quantity of abandoned and expired supplies inn stores.
He added that proper records were not kept in quite a number of stores with some being managed by untrained personnel and were ill equipped, as well as discrepancies between physical stock and records in some district stores.
At the Macauley Street Government Hospital, Mr. Marrah said: “The team noted that Le. 3,143,000 meant for the procurement of drugs was paid into the personal account of the pharmacist. Cost of drugs supplied on cost recovery basis by the Freetown City Council (FCC) are unaccounted for.”
It was recommended that Le 91,975,000 (Ninety one million, nine hundred and seventy five thousand Leones) worth of drugs not accounted for by the hospital management be repaid by the persons concerned with immediate effect and to be deposited into the hospital drugs account.
Also, the Pharmacist at the hospital was warned to stop allocating drugs to technicians and institute a proper cost recovery mechanism at the hospital.
Launching the report, ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala said: “Sierra Leone is repositioning itself to gain respectability in the global arena. Integrity and transparency in public service is one of the benchmarks for gaining such responsibility.”
He spoke about the commission’s determination to ensure that there was solid and great degree of integrity in the management of drugs and other medical related services in hospital facilities.
He noted that when government commit resources to procure and acquire drugs which were supposed to be provided to facilities for the wellbeing and welfare of the people, they should be managed with integrity and transparency so that it goes through the supply chain to the beneficiaries.
Earlier in his response, Chief Pharmacist, Jack Lansana, welcomed the findings in the report and assured that the recommendations proffered will be addressed fully.
“We are aware that the purpose of the findings was to help us strengthen our health systems. Some of the recommendations have been put in place already. We still have challenges in the area of manpower and funding to run the office properly,” he said.