Sort out this mess, once

2018-05-13 05:56

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While ANC leaders are fighting for their political lives, the poor continue to suffer in North West.

The health crisis in the province continues unabated and if nothing is done to arrest it, it will only get worse.

What was supposed to be a routine visit home at the weekend ended up being a complaint session from some members of the family.

My uncle came back empty-handed from a local clinic. He had gone there to get his monthly dosage of Actraphane – insulin to treat diabetes – but was told the stock room was empty because of non-delivery since the strike began.

He went to his sister – my mom – to get a spare dosage. If she had not had an extra one, he would have had to fork out his last money to buy it at a pharmacy. Not only that. He would have needed a prescription to get the dosage, meaning more money in consulting fees.

He is not the only one in need of his daily dose.

My mother – also diabetic – was given an insulin pen at George Mukhari Academic Hospital to inject herself daily and referred to the same clinic for her monthly repeat. The clinic did not have the same replacement pen. Instead, she was given something different. Nothing wrong with that, except the needle of the pen was too big and she had to fork out extra money to buy the Actraphane pen.

I’m sure there are many patients suffering; many others who get turned away because of shortages of medication, particularly chronic medication. This could mean death is knocking at their doors.

How are patients supposed to live without medication? For how long are they going to suffer? Is the government going to wait until the situation is beyond control before it acts?

The fortunate few can go to private clinics and pharmacies. But what about the less fortunate who depend solely on the state for health services?

The crisis will be exacerbated because poor patients are more likely to pick up opportunistic infections.

Last month the SA Association of Hospital and Institutional Pharmacists warned that a lack of medicine “can result in devastating consequences for patients. Not only is death a possibility in some cases, but patients who have been stabilised on chronic medicines risk having inadequate control of their ongoing medical condition, while patients needing medicines for acute conditions face not receiving medicines at all.”

So while the leadership slugs it out for top positions, they must not forget their mandate – working for the poor and the needy.

We cannot all suffer because of a few power-hungry individuals.

Read more on:    anc  |  health

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