Tuesday January 25, 2022

Government starts couriering hepatitis drugs to patients

July 13, 2017

LAHORE On the directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Primary and Secondary Health Department has launched a programme for medicines delivery through courier service to the registered hepatitis patients on their doorstep. All the medicines of different health programmes would be delivered through courier service to the patients on their doorstep very soon.

It was announced by Minister for Primary and Secondary Health Khawaja Imran Nazir while inaugurating the scheme by handing over a medicine parcel through a courier company at the doorstep of a female hepatitis patient at Shahdra, Lahore, on Wednesday.

While talking to the media, Kh Imran Nazir said that every month medicines of 83,000 registered hepatitis patients would reach their homes through a courier company regularly and the charges of the courier services also be met by the department.

He said that every month an SMS would be sent to the mobile phone of the patient for monthly check-up in the nearby government hospital so that the condition of the disease was also checked and the medicines adjusted accordingly.

The minister said that this system would end the complaints regarding the theft of costly medicines. It is an online computerised system through which data of the patients and the record of medicines’ delivery would be maintained and third-party validation also be carried out time to time for maintenance of transparency.

Kh Imran Nazir said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had promised to provide treatment facilities on the doorstep of the poor patients which had been fulfilled. He said that very soon, the medicines of TB, AIDS, etc, would be delivered on the doorstep of the registered patients through courier service. It is a revolutionary step and a historic milestone which have been achieved by the Health Department, he added.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Specialised Health Care and Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafique has said that the process of procurement, supply and distribution of medicine and other health commodities in public sector hospitals of the province is being made standardised, comprehensive and effective.

“We are bringing a robust and transparent supply chain management system which will not only help eliminate the loss incurred due to expiry of medicines but also ensure qualitative and quantitative needs of the end users,” he said while addressing a symposium at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Wednesday.

The symposium on the “Significance of Public Health Supply Chain Management” was organised by the UHS in collaboration with USAID Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) programme. It was part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two organisations which was signed at the end of the symposium.

According to the agreement, UHS and USAID Global Health Supply Chain Programme will collaborate to initiate diploma, short courses and master's progammes leading to PhD programme in supply chain management. 

In the first phase, three-credit hour module of supply chain management has been incorporated in the master's in public health programme of the university.

Khawaja Salman Rafique said that it was the top priority of the government to provide free-of-cost medicines worth billions of rupees to the patients in public sector hospitals every year and it was the prime responsibility of the authorities concerned to make the process of purchase, supply and distribution of medicines completely transparent. “Accountability has been brought in at all levels to ensure that the medicines purchased are reaching the needy”, he said.  The minister acknowledged the USAID and UHS support to the Punjab government in institutionalising public health supply chain management system. He expressed that the collaboration between the two organisations and initiation of new course would benefit the officials at all levels of public sector hierarchy with technical skills in all supply chain functions. “This skilled force will contribute and help the government machinery forecast, quantify, process and store quality health commodities and distribute them to the poor and marginalised community at the grassroots level”, Khawaja Salman added.

Federal Secretary of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Muhammad Ayub Sheikh congratulated the Punjab government and UHS on taking the much-needed initiative and introducing training programme in public health supply chain management. He said that at the federal level a new vaccine management system had been introduced which had been appreciated at the international level.

UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Junaid Sarfraz Khan expressed the confidence that the course was going to impart its graduates global best practices in forecasting and quantification, procurement, warehousing, inventory management, and create a legacy of scientific and judicious practices in institutions.

The country director of USAID Global Health Supply Chain Programme, being managed by Chemonics International, Dr Muhammad Tariq, highlighted the importance of introducing supply chain management course and said that the programme was working closely with the health and population welfare departments to create functional synergies across the country to make the supply chain operations up the international standards.

Population Welfare Department Secretary Dr Ismat Tahira said that a key way to improve access to medicines in the country was to address the challenges facing local production of medicines as well as those hampering effective supply chain management.

UHS Public Health Department head Prof Dr Shakila Zaman said that USAID would organise a three-day orientation session for nominated faculty members of UHS on supply chain management module scheduled from July 18-20 on the varsity campus.

Being part of orientation session, the participants would be visiting Central Warehouse and Supplies (CW&S), Karachi – a state-of-the art, ISO 9001-2008 certified, public sector national repository of family planning commodities being managed under the auspices of Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, she added. Punjab Health Services former Director General Dr Nisar Cheema also spoke on the occasion.