Hospital faces acute shortage of drugs

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday October 30th, 2013


RED tape at the Health Department is costing lives at hospitals, with the Modilon General Hospital in Madang facing a severe shortage of drugs, an official says.

Deputy director medical services Johnmark Jeremiah said yesterday procurement orders sent to Port Moresby three weeks ago were yet to be received.

A call to the department, particularly the procurement and distribution branch manager Vali Karo’s office, had his phone ringing out on the three occasions, he said.

A call to Secretary Pascoe Kase’s office had his secretary referring this reporter to a Elva Lionel, who was in a meeting.

At about 3.30pm, when another call was made, Lionel’s secretary said “the message has been passed on but someone will have to put something in writing for the secretary to endorse.

“It  is normal protocol”.

Jeremiah said lifesaving drugs like anti-venom had run out of stock two months ago. “Since August, we have had no stock for these anti-venoms,”he said

“With the rainy weather now upon us, snakes are likely to come out looking for drier places with attacks on humans more frequent. 

“Buying a vial of anti-venom overseas is K7,800 – something we can’t afford,” he said.

He said there had been five deaths reported since August, two just last week.

He said in immediate need were antibiotics like Flagyl (intravenous and tablets); insulin for diabetic patients; digoxin for heart patients; anti-epileptic medicine and surgical sutures.

He said those drugs  would be in high demand with the Christmas period fast approaching when accidents were more frequent.

“Buying a dozen sutures cost K85 per box and they last only three weeks,”he said. “We have the surgical ward fully-booked until Christmas and those needing surgery can’t afford to go without these.”