PSFCI in charge of the management of pharmaceutical donations in Indonesia's Banda Aceh Province

News and Press Release
Originally published
A PSFCI program has officially run since 15 February 2005 to support pharmaceutical management It is funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department - ECHO for 423,659 euros. Under this program, a working group has been created with the Pharmacy Department of the Ministry of Health at federal level, the Pharmacy Department of Aceh Province, local health agents, the WHO and Ausaid (Australian Aid) to decide what strategy to adopt to manage drug donations: centralisation, selection, re-labelling in Indonesian language and proper storage of usable donated drugs, destruction of inappropriate donations, expansion of the storage capacity of the pharmaceutical warehouse of Aceh province and distribution.

Warehouses have been identified and approved by the Ministry of Health for management and distribution. Once selected, usable donations are validated by the Provincial Department of Health and then sent to the Distribution Centre, where health centres, hospitals, camp leaders, national and international NGOs can stock up. All outdated, unidentifiable products and tsunami-damaged medicines will be destroyed. Usable medicines with foreign language instructions will be identified and re-labelled.

The WHO is working with the Ministry of Health on adapting the guidelines for the disposal of drugs* and, with funding from the PSFCI/ECHO program, the health authorities have already been able to destroy 75m3 of outdated drug donations in the presence of the Minister of Health who wanted to formalise the program.

A non toxic waste disposal site has also been approved by the Ministry of Health.

A mapping of the different entry sites for donations and medical units will be done across the country, and donations will either be transferred to Banda Aceh or will be locally sorted. Even though military and civilian air arrivals are now listed, areas where medicine were dropped from helicopters or arrived by sea, directly in the Indonesian districts, have not all been identified yet.

PSFCI would like to give a reminder that all countries have regulations governing the supply, control and distribution of medicines on their territory, because medicines are potentially dangerous to public health. If today, in a spirit of "generosity" and humanitarian assistance, we can put people's health at risk, then there is something wrong with humanitarian aid, something that organizations must find courage to look at in order to acknowledge their own failures and put an end to them before humanitarian aid is considered a "post-disaster scourge" by the beneficiary countries .

For medicines in particular, PSFCI would like the pharmacy profession as a whole to be more aware of its responsibilities and the be more strict regarding compliance with the pharmaceutical regulations of all countries; that, as a body responsible for medicines, it advocate for the Guidelines for drug donations to be disseminated widely by the governments and to be respected by all donors; so that quality, responsibility and respect are the driving forces behind any humanitarian action and so that there would be no more reason to be embarrassed by humanitarian pharmaceutical aid. Because over there, health professionals will keep in their minds the health risks that donors posed to their population.

Guidelines for Safe Disposal of Unwanted Pharmaceuticals in and after Emergencies :

Guidelines for drug donations:

Ghislaine Soulier