About N1.08bn worth of HIV drugs expired in storage, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed on Tuesday.
Prof. Adewole who spoke while delivering a speech at the ‘Dissemination Meeting of 2016 National Health Facility Survey’ in Abuja, said the drugs expired because of some challenges in the system which te government was handling.
He said “we are now putting together a network of logistics supply system. We have two excellent facilities in Abuja and Lagos which we call ‘Warehouse in a Box’.
According to the minister, “Availability of commodities is also important. We have mentioned inadequate funding which is a major factor but it is not the only reason for the out of stock of commodities. Better management is also important.
“We are living witnesses to the challenges we face with the HIV programme where drugs worth about $3.2m expired. So, it is not a question of it (drugs) not being available. Sometimes the drugs are there but we don’t give it to them (patients) and then they expire.”
On the ‘Warehouse in a Box’ facilities, Adewole explained that “the one in Abuja is called Premium Medical Supplies Store and everything there is computerised and with that kind of system, there will be no more expired drugs because we will be able to monitor them electronically. It will be a system of first in, first out and we will also be monitoring expiry dates.
“What we are also trying to avoid in the country is a situation where we take drugs that are about to expire. When you pick drugs that have short shelf lives like six months, they can expire easily.”
Adewole said there was a sense of urgency for governments at all levels, particularly the state governments to have the political will to place high premium on budget financing for health because, over time, budget for health was grossly inadequate.
He said, “Health is an investment issue, health is security and, above all, health is a human right issue, the right to health should not deny anyone.”