Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, told the National Assembly today that when it comes to procurement practices and holding contractors responsible for delayed delivery of drugs, “this time nah long time”.
Lawrence and the health sector had come under criticism from Opposition speakers over reports of drug shortages and overpayment and early payment of contractors for drug delivery, who were late with those deliveries.
In response, Minister Lawrence said “this time nah long time and we do not sweep things under the carpet and that those persons who have breached the procurement act, were written to since in October and and we didn’t keep it at the Ministry, We copied the Financial Secretary and the Auditor General, so that action”.
She said while some of the Opposition side appear to be focusing on the negatives in the health sector, they are failing to talk about the many positives that are taking place even in the communities where they serve the sector.
According to Ms. Lawrence, it is the current Government that ensured that the Public Procurement Commission was put into place to monitor and scrutinize all Government contracts.
She reminded the Opposition that while it was in Government, most health supplies contracts were handed over to a close friend of the former President Bharrat Jagdeo, and that type of arrangement no longer continues.
Minister Lawrence said that there are several plans for the health sector in the new year. New and rehabilitated residence for medical professionals will be completed and the Georgetown Hospital will also see several improvements including a new and improved accident and emergency unit as well as expansion to the maternity and other wards.
She said regional hospitals and other health facilities will also see similar improvements in the new year. Earlier this week, the Minister addressed the issue of drug shortages, telling the Department of Public Information that while there are some cases of drug shortages, all health facilities have over 70% of the drugs that they need.