And Day Three concluded with a presentation by Rayleen Sole on drug supply in Bougainville. As I have raised already, drug supply is a serious issue here. Finally, we have had the opportunity to discuss it together.
Rayleen did a great job and seems to have it covered. Seems to be a mix of classic supply chain problems and poor stock management skills within health facilities. Regrettably, there is also evidence of theft for private sale (a problem across PNG).
It doesn't help that ABG has cut the drug supply budget by 92% over three years, so I relished the opportunity to raise this at the forum. The CEO of Health's response was that he doesn't know why the budget is so low; apparently they bid for 1.5 million kina and what they got was 40,000 kina. Now, I know for a fact that the budget process is a mess, and to an extent political interference is to blame. However, I do feel that the Division of Health should make more of an effort to advocate for itself, and should be using the Minister of Health as a lever. The current state of play is not good enough.
It is good to have these issues out in the open and my colleagues within the sector seem to be very happy with how this is all going. The key issues are clear and I look forward to debating the priorities with my fellow Health Summit participants on Friday.
Ka kite ano.