While MOH is looking for a new CEO, they're also looking to purchase emergency medical supplies.

We've been reporting on shortages at the KHMH for some weeks, but there is also a shortage of life-saving medication. The public is worried and this morning, the PM explained that it's all part of the shipping crisis.

Last night, we told you that shipping lines are dramatically increasing the cost of bringing in containers which only adds to the problem MOH is currently facing. And with this major delay, the ministry has to look elsewhere to purchase these medications. It's a situation that the PM said not even early planning could have remedied.

Reporter:
"There have been persistent calls to our Krem Morning Show of people saying there are shortages of medication the last one yesterday being of medication for people's mental health."

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
"Well the issue of the shortage of medication, it is well known that this phenomenon that is affecting the entire world, the COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain, many factories, you know, somebody get sick, you have to shut down your factory. And so it has created a shortage of some of the medical supplies all over for everything, unfortunately, including medications. And that is one. And then the shipping, the shipping line has been another major problem. And the costs continue to go up. I mean it's multiplying many times over the cost. And so all of these issues have converged to create this shortage problem. It is a crisis, a crisis that we have to address at this moment what we are doing, we're trying to see to see if we can get some emergency supplies from our Mexican counterparts. We've already reached out to them. They Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have provided ourself, the minister and myself, with a list of things in dire need and shortage. And so we have already presented that to the ambassador, and she's going to get back to us, see if we could get some emergency supplies until the rest of supplies come into the country. But that is, you can't hold anybody responsible for that, not the minister, not CEO, not the government. These are things are outside of our control."

Reporter:
"But is it something that we acted late on? Just yesterday, we heard one department store saying we planned all the way from January, now this is health material, health equipment. There could have been planning beforehand."

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
"Well, the planning was in place from earlier this year. We started the planning and called for bids, and so we went through the bidding process and that bidding process took a little bit longer than usual, simply because we were ensuring that we followed the right process. We're ensuring that we can opening up to more people to be able to bid. The UDP before I think had about 16 or 18, now we have over 30 different companies to ensure that we can spread the risk with different country, with different companies. So the process started from the earlier part of this year it's just a matter that the supplies are not there and it is taking some time to be able to get to Belize and to other countries."

And while the PM chalks it all up to shipping problems - we note that another contributing factor is that the tenders this year went out in August, months later than they normally would have in April.

Channel 7