The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Guatemalan hospitals get much needed supplies at half the cost

The Guatemala Social Security Institute (IGSS) has reported an estimated 50% savings in the purchase of medicines with support from UNOPS.

UNOPS helped ensure that approximately $27 million worth of medicines were purchased at a fair market price.

Thanks to three international tenders, 228 drug codes have been attained out of a required 346.

The medicines purchased – or drug codes – are part of the IGSS Basic List of Medications. These include essential medicines and vital drugs of high commercial value. Therapeutically and socially, it is important these medicines are available to IGSS members and patients.

"Saving $27 million for IGSS means many things: With these resources the Institute could build a new hospital, reduce the cost of medical services, extend insurance coverage to migrant populations and much more," said Fabrizio Feliciani, Director of UNOPS in Latin America and the Caribbean.

UNOPS is further helping strengthen the capacity of IGSS by improving standardized procedures and monitoring tools, aswell as training staff in public procurement and project management. 

"We have detected many irregularities in the procurement processes of medicines, which is an issue we are correcting with the support of UNOPS in two components: The immediate implementation of transparent procurement; and the institutional re-engineering and analysis, so that IGSS can strengthen its capacity, change and procure in a completely transparent way," said Carlos Contreras, Director of IGSS.

Manfredo Marroquín, President of Transparency International Guatemala added: "The UNOPS project helps fight the lack of transparency traditionally associated with public procurement in the social security."                

Carlos Contreras announced a continued partnership with UNOPS for 2018 at a press conference held on Friday 18 August.

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