Nishita Gajadien, the director of the Regional Health Service (RGD), recently announced that fourteen RGD pharmacies will close in order to maintain service at the remaining RGD pharmacies. According to Health Minister Amar Ramadhin, it would be premature to close pharmacies at this time. “We recently examined the drug dispensing in several RGD pharmacies on the coastal plain. We’ve come to the conclusion that the coastal plain’s distribution of pharmacies is largely centralized. Additionally, it has been noticed that the districts have few independent pharmacies. We have decided to investigate which RGD pharmacies in Paramaribo and Wanica are close to enough independent pharmacies to accept patients if they are closed, as was agreed internally. We don’t want to put them in difficult circumstances, Ramadhin says. The Regional Health Service is mandated by law to be the operator of pharmacies and to be in charge of staffing and inventory. As a result of frequent visits to private pharmacies, it was discovered during the Ministry of Health’s research that the demand for medication at the RGD is particularly low in the Paramaribo and Wanica districts. “At this point, we must look in the other areas where there are no independent pharmacies. The RGD does occupy an important position there,” says Ramadhin. The districts have responded to the decision and state that this decision is being considered. They also indicate that they want to optimize the availability of medicines.
According to the minister, everything can be brought together with the resources and the medicines released and other pharmacies can be better supplied. “This is the intention of the ministry the policy of the RGD to provide efficient and better services. It is not the case that the ministry is just closing pharmacies, but we are moving towards a realistic situation. We want RGD pharmacies in areas where people don’t have to travel far when they need medicines.”