Managing Director of the National Medical Supply Agency, Dr. Lawrence Sandi has disclosed that medical supplies worth the sum of USD 2.5 million which is equivalent to the sum of Le25.6 billion will be distributed to over 1,250 Peripheral Health Units to about 30 tertiary and regional hospitals in the country.
Sandi maintained that the operationalized National Medicines Supply Agency Act resulted in reduced stock-out of essential medicines and health commodities at the health facility level.
He stressed the importance of the quality of the drugs, noting that they are working with the Pharmacy Board Sierra Leone in ensuring robust quality assurance testing.
“Presently, we have seen a lot of sanity in the procurement and distribution of Free Healthcare Drugs and that is happening because we have strong political and technical leadership in the Ministry of Health. They are guiding our agency in ensuring that the drugs meet the desired beneficiaries,” Sandi affirmed.
He added that the National Medical Supply Agency came into existence with the specific responsibility of procuring drugs for warehouses and distributing medical supplies for and on behalf of all government institutions.
That since April 2010 when Free Healthcare was introduced the purchase and distribution of Free Healthcare Drugs were done by partners. In 2018, 10% of the cost of the Free Health Care drugs was provided by the government, 30% in 2019, and 50% since 2020, adding that it is one of the factors that led to the Government of Sierra Leone increasing the health budget from 7% in 2017 to 11% in 2020.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has instituted timely, effective, and efficient distribution of free health care drugs countrywide with the involvement of national, district, and community-based structures and key stakeholders in the monitoring of drugs and services.
That the distribution of the 2nd Quarter of the Free Healthcare Drug is ongoing nationwide, noting that this time round they were getting the community involved because they should take ownership of the program to prevent the wrongs of the past.