Johannesburg - The Gauteng Health Department has settled in full all debts owed to medical suppliers up to the end of March, an official said on Tuesday.
“The department is now moving at speed to implement a turnaround strategy at its medical supply depot,” department spokesperson Phumelele Khumalo said.
A total of R874-million was paid to medical suppliers last week, settling all outstanding accruals from 2011, he said in a statement.
The provincial health MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe, has instructed that all efforts be made to improve drug stock holding in the province from the current six weeks to three months.
Khumalo said a meeting with medical suppliers was being planned to discuss working relationships and measures to improve supplies.
Meanwhile, efforts were under way to improve controls on the distribution of medicines from the supply depot to hospitals and clinics.
“A review of the business model of the medical supply depot has commenced as part of the department's turnaround strategy.”
Khumalo said this was a 12-month project introduced to increase patients' access to medicine, improve warehousing and establish information and communication technologies systems at regional pharmacies.
A provincial pharmaceutical and therapeutic committee of experts was established to monitor and ensure rational use of medicines, Khumalo said.
“The committee will also interrogate scientific evidence for protocols, assist in ensuring the availability of essential drugs and advise the department on drug related matters.” - Sapa