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Critical shortage of drugs in 2010 investigated

By Godwin Ligo PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 6, 2011) – The entire health systems in Vanuatu will be audited following a Council of Ministers (COM) decision made just before Christmas 2010.

The Council’s decision called for the Minister for Justice and Community Services to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate why there was drastic shortage of drugs supply for the whole country in 2010 particularly the Vila Central Hospital, which is the largest and busiest referral hospital in the country.

The Council of Ministers directed that the members of the Commission of Inquiry include a private doctor, and once established that the Commission will set out its terms of reference including, the time frame to complete the inquiry as required by the government and present the report back to the Council of Ministers for decision.

The Council of Ministers stated that it is imperative and urgent for an auditing to be carried out covering the entire health system in Vanuatu.

The decision of the Council of Ministers came about as a result of the drastic shortage of drugs supplies in hospitals, clinics and dispensaries throughout Vanuatu in 2010 which the new Prime Minister Sato Kilman has termed as "not acceptable by my government".

In 2010, the Port Vila Central Hospital ran out of essential drugs that resulted in patients being forced to buy such essential drugs such as panadols from local pharmaceutical shops.

The move by the Council of Ministers to have a Commission of Inquiry into health services in Vanuatu is seen as one of the first major move by any government since 1980 to shake up the health system in the country.

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