Home Health Health Minister Gagan Thapa pledges to ensure smooth supply of medicines

Health Minister Gagan Thapa pledges to ensure smooth supply of medicines

Minister for Health Gagan Thapa speaking after laying the foundation stone of a new block in Bharatpur Hosptial, in Chitwan on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, February 2, 2017: Minister for Health Gagan Thapa today vowed that he would not let anything obstruct him from supplying essential medicines to any part of the country.

In an appeal issued on Wednesday, he said the ministry had already allocated budget ranging from Rs 1.8 million to Rs 8 million to the districts, depending on their population for the current fiscal. Of the total amount of Rs 1.5 billion meant for medicines, Rs 510.1 million has been transferred to the bank accounts of the concerned districts.

“I have directed the chiefs of all district public health offices to spend all the money to procure  essential drugs. The drugs could be purchased by issuing a 15-day notice. In case of emergency, medicines worth Rs 500,000 may be procured directly,” said Minister Thapa.

“If the amount allocated for the district is not enough, let me know about it. The ministry will send the district either money or medicines within 24 hours,” he added. The ministry has formed a central coordination committee for managing drug supply and appointed a focal person in each region.

Medicine crunch is a major problem facing many districts, especially the remote ones. Minister Thapa also informed that the ministry was working to make timely changes in the Procurement Reform Action Plan. “The proposed reform in the action plan will end all complexities underlying the procurement process for prompt response to drug problems,” he claimed.

Minister Thapa also said that budget used to be allocated for medicines in the past but was never spent, thanks to the procedural complexities and the lack of coordination between the centre and local levels. He said the ministry would use stick-and-carrot approach to ensure that concerned authorities do their best to protect citizens’ right to health.