5 Jul 2002

Solomon Islands health minister says country cannot afford even basic medicines

11:04 am on 5 July 2002

Solomon Islands' health minister says the country is running out of basic medicines.

The minister, Augustine Taneko, has described the situation as critical - so much so that people must look after their own health.

Mr Taneko says his Ministry is negotiating hard with overseas medical suppliers, but it will take time for the medicines to arrive in the country.

The Solomon Islands Government is believed to owe millions of dollars to drug companies in New Zealand and Australia.

Those companies are said to be reluctant to further extend credit.

Mr Taneko says people should help the Health Ministry to keep a decent and clean environment to avoid the outbreak of disease.

He says the situation is serious and people should look after their own health because they may not get treatment because of the shortage of drugs at hospitals and clinics.