By Philip Yatai
The Ward Development Committee (WDC) in Kaduna State has urged the state government to decentralise the State Health Supplies Management Agency (KADHSMA) to improve efficiency in drug supply to health facilities.
The Secretary of the Committee, Mr Garba Danlami, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Friday.
Danlami said that the decentralisation would ensure timely supply of drugs to facilities and improve service delivery.
He lamented the delay in the agency’s responses to drugs requisition and supply, a development he blamed on the centralisation of the operations of the agency.
The secretary explained that most of the health facilities were offering health insurance services to poor and vulnerable groups, including the formal and informal sectors.
Danlami, however, said that the facilities were always short of drugs due to the delay in supply by KADHSMA, adding that the development was discouraging residents from subscribing to the scheme.
He said, “As WDC, we received complaints from residents who claimed to have visited health facilities and were told there were no drugs.
“Sometimes they even assume we connived with the health officials to divert the drugs, but that is not the case; mostly it is a delay in the supply of drugs when requisition and payments have been made.”
He explained that WDCs in the state were told that they would get a response on any requisition sent to the agency within 24 hours and if they ordered for drugs, they would get it within 72 hours.
“But it is disturbing that we wrote a requisition since Sept. 7, but only got a response from KADHSMA on Sept. 24 telling us the drugs that are available and the price.
“We made payments and eight weeks in counting, we have not received the supply.
“We are, therefore, appealing to the government to decentralise the operations of KADHSMA by opening Zonal Offices so that health facilities can access drugs easily,” he said.
Danlami pointed out that effective drug supply would significantly improve service delivery in health centres and in the long run encourage private sector enrolment into the state health insurance scheme.
Mr Haruna Adamu, Chief Planning Officer of the agency, said that KADHSMA currently procures and distributes drugs and medical consumables to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, 31 secondary and 803 primary health facilities.
Adamu added that the agency had also signed a memorandum of understanding with local pharmaceutical companies under the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN).
“This is through a Public Private Partnership arrangement that improved the availability of quality and affordable essential medicines.
“The government has also partnered with Zipline Logistics, to leverage aerial drone technology to deliver health commodities to public health facilities in hard-to-reach areas and during emergencies,” he said.
He said that under the arrangement, 108 facilities were selected in Lere, Kubau and Kauru Local Government Areas for Zipline aerial drone delivery services and had since commenced operations.
The official attributed some of the delays to difficulty in accessing funds to upgrade pharma-grade warehouses in the southern and northern senatorial zones of the state.
He also said that the agency was faced with inadequate delivery vans for the distribution of health products across the state and restriction of no flying zones in some areas by the Nigerian Air Force.
NAN reports that the WDC, is a group of influential men and women responsible for overseeing the development at the sub-district level, put together by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
It is a social strategy for encouraging community participation and access to primary healthcare services.
The committee is made up of religious and traditional leaders and other prominent people across the communities that make up the ward.