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PA short of medicines, medical equipment

Jan. 15, 2014 7:20 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 8:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health is suffering from shortages in medicines and medical equipment because the Ministry of Finance has not paid the suppliers.

Public hospital doctors and patients have recently been complaining about shortages in indispensable medicines and equipment such as arterial, electrocardiograph paper as well as medications for cardiac diseases, blood pressure and cancer among others.

Director of the ministry's department of medical warehouses Salah Thawabta told Ma’an that public hospitals are short of medicines and medical equipment because the Ministry of Finance has not paid companies who win tenders to supply the ministry with those medicines.

Thirty-five types of medicines are being supplied very slowly because the Ministry of Finance has not been paying the suppliers, he added.

Thawabta said the Ministry of Health could take legal procedures against companies who won the bids. He also called upon hospital managers to buy the needed medicines using the monthly allowances their hospitals receive from the ministry, and then send receipts to the ministry for reimbursement.

Administrative manager of the Ministry of Health Abd al-Halim Hamadnah told Ma'an that the ministry's debts reached 700 million NIS ($200 million). These debts, he said, have been accumulated in the past four years. Some 88 percent of the debts, he said, are owed to medicine suppliers and private hospitals, and the rest is owed to suppliers of fuel and cleaning materials.

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