27 Jun 2003

Missing Solomons drugs feared stolen

4:22 pm on 27 June 2003

Urgently needed drugs and medical supplies in Solomon Islands are reported missing.

While there is suspicion that they may have been stolen and sold for money, the Ministry of Health wants an investigation to explain the shortages.

The health minister, Benjamin Una, says health workers may have sold the drugs to offset the government's problems in paying wages on time.

The Acting Chief Executive at the National Referral Hospital, Dr Chester Kumar, says he's aware of the situation but is more concerned about how this affects patients.

"Yes, supply of drugs is a problem and if this problem that we are talking about is true then that would be one way in which drugs are sort of going out and contributing to the shortage of drugs that we're experiencing."

Dr Kumar says the hospital is currently out of Lidocaine and Vitamin K and are urgently wanting more supplies.

Meanwhile, expectant mothers are urged to look for an anaesthetic when in labour before coming in to the hospital.