KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) directly awarded hundreds of government contracts, with only one procurement going through an open tender process under its asset management unit, in 2021.
The MOH’s Annual Report 2021 showed 680 direct appointments being made at RM4.62 million under its asset management unit in 2021. Only one tender procurement worth RM1.36 million was made that same year, while 13 quotations were made at RM1.89 million.
The MOH’s asset management unit is responsible for managing matters related to assets, rental of premises, maintenance, and procurement. The annual report did not offer further details on the contracts awarded.
Meanwhile, under its procurement and privatisation division, the MOH made procurements worth RM3.43 billion in total, based on data until September 2021. The procurement value, as of September of that year, exceeds RM3.31 billion recorded in 2020. In 2019, the ministry’s procurement value amounted to RM3.51 billion.
The amount in 2021 covers the procurement of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, services, ICT, vehicles and Approved Products Purchase List (APPL).
The highest procurement value for the year was on pharmaceuticals at RM2.12 billion or 62 per cent of the total value, followed by services at RM634.53 million (18.5 per cent) and ICT at RM371.63 million (10.8 per cent).
The annual report stated that the MOH saved RM943.24 million in procurement expenditure for the year – in line with the national resource optimisation policy – based on comparisons made between the department’s estimates with the contract price offered and price negotiations held with the companies involved.
The procurement and privatisation division is responsible for planning, managing and implementing procurement, privatisation, asset and store programmes at the ministry.
This division is also the main secretariat for the MOH’s Procurement Board. Members of the procurement board consist of senior government officers and representatives from central agencies and technical agencies.
The division is also responsible for managing privatisation programmes involving drug and store laboratories, procurement and maintenance of medical equipment at MOH clinics, hospital support services and foreign workers’ health supervision and inspection services. The privatisation programmes are in line with the National Privatisation Policy.
The division also regulates the management of stores, inventories and MOH assets to ensure all applicable rules are adhered to at all times.
Covid-19 Procurements – PPEs, Test Kits, Hybrid ICUs, Ambulances
While the annual report does not include an exhaustive list of procurements made by the MOH in 2021, other parts of the report point to various procurements made under different divisions and units across the ministry for the year.
This includes emergency procurements made during Covid valued at RM1.46 billion involving the acquisition of assets (medical and non-medical), medicines, reagents, consumables, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The MOH also made two emergency procurements to acquire more than 1.2 million RTK Ag test kits to be deployed at primary health care facilities. The aim was to reduce waiting times for the results of Covid-19 RT-PCR laboratory tests.
A central contract was also put in place to provide an additional 6 million RTK Ag test kits to meet the needs of all primary health care facilities and public hospitals, the report stated.
Additionally, a central contract to provide over 9 million packed viral transport medium kits with nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs to all public health care facilities was established. Both emergency procurement and central contract for these diagnostic tests were carried out using funds provided under the Covid-19 Fund (KWC).
Meanwhile, six categories of emergency medical equipment were procured through central emergency procurement measures for four months, from June 29 to October 14, 2021, for RM4.05 million supplied to all 267 vaccination centres (PPVs).
The procurements consist of a digital sphygmomanometer set (BP, pulse, SpO2 ); oxygen tanks (10 litres) with regulators and trolleys; automated external defibrillator (AED) with rechargeable battery and three sets of electrode pads; laryngoscope set; adult and child resuscitator kit; and portable suction machine.
To strengthen intensive care unit (ICU) services, the ministry allocated RM170 million and RM60 million for the procurement of ICU equipment in MOH hospitals nationwide and the upgrading of ICU facilities in Sabah and Sarawak, respectively.
Additionally, 15 field hybrid ICUs (FHyICU) with a capacity of 146 ICU beds were also established. FHyICU projects were implemented by emergency procurement by appointing Edgenta Healthtronics Sdn Bhd as the contractor based on the company’s experience and capability to complete the project within a short period, the report stated.
The MOH’s medical resource unit also received an allocation of RM290.23 million for medical devices. For PPE items, the allocation approved under the Covid-19 Fund was RM40.5 million for the procurement of gloves, jumpsuits, and face shields.
The ministry’s technical and engineering technology unit is involved in the technicalities of ambulance procurement via a central tender process.
In 2021, a few leasing procurement contracts with private ambulance service providers were implemented to cater for the short-term need during the Covid-19 pandemic. A long-term procurement contract for 590 ambulances under the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (RMK-12) and the outsourcing of 170 ambulances are in progress.
The total cost of medicines procured for all MOH hospitals, institutions and health clinics for the year 2021 was RM2.55 billion. The expenditure increased by 1.01 per cent as compared to the total cost in 2020.
The value for medicines expenditure through the concessionaire company (APPL) was RM1.11 billion (43.6 per cent). For the MOH contract, the total expenditure was RM1.07 billion (41.9 per cent), meanwhile for direct purchases and quotations, the expenses were RM370.16 million (14.5 per cent).
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