Clinic still short of common medicine

National

By SAMUEL BARIASI
THE Kaugere Urban Clinic in Port Moresby is facing a shortage of salbutamol, an important drug needed by people suffering from asthma, an official says.
Dr Patrick Koliwan in a report to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry yesterday said the drug (used in inhalers) supplies were very low despite the high number of people being treated with respiratory diseases.
He also revealed that only 40 medicine and medical kits containing the drug were issued annually but usually lasted around 20 days.
“Salbutamol is a drug that opens up your airways in the event of something like an asthma attack,” he said.
“They come in tablets and in puffers (commonly used).
“We have been out of puffers since July.”
Koliwan said salbutamol was one of the drugs people relied on for their quality of life because there was a high number of people with chronic respiratory diseases.
“Some people use the puffer four to six times a day.
“One of these puffers cost about K15 and one patient would need one to two puffers a month.
“So this is one of the drugs that we have really been struggling to provide our patients with.”
Koliwan said because there was a shortage, patients were usually given prescriptions to treat themselves.
“Often patients will delay treatment until they have enough money to pay for their prescriptions.
“This means their condition may deteriorate.
“Staff are negatively affected by drug shortages as well.
“Drug shortages compromise the quality of care we can deliver and reflects poorly on the level of service we offer to the community,” Koliwan said.

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