Despair over meds

2015-06-12 10:57
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Pietermaritzburg - With the national shortage of medication in state hospitals and clinics, some Pietermaritzburg residents are suffering the consequences of stock outs.

The Witness has revealed in earlier reports that medication ranging from ARVs and morphine to paracetamol and basic iron tablets were out of stock in clinics and hospitals throughout the province and were unavailable to patients, sometimes for over six months.

A pensioner from Northdale, who asked not to be named, said the state clinics had been out of epilepsy medication for her son for over three weeks and this had made life at home increasingly difficult.

“The medication my son used to get from the clinic kept his fits completely under control. Now he is fitting two to three times a night.”

The pensioner said she feared her son would end up hurting himself severely if he did not have access to the medication soon.

“Without the medication, he can still do things for himself, but there have been a few times where he was in the bathroom or kitchen and would fall over and fit.

“He has not hurt himself yet but I am afraid he will,” she said.

She said she had approached state clinics and had been told they were out of stock.

She said purchasing the medication from private pharmacies was too expensive for her as a pensioner.

Pensioner and retired teacher Michael Carstens said he had been diagnosed with clinical depression and state clinics in Pietermaritzburg had been out of stock of his medication for just over six weeks.

The 70-year-old said he was having to halve the recommended dose just to stretch out his medication until the clinics were restocked with the medication.

“I have had to order from Clicks because the clinics are out of stock and for a pensioner like me, R900 a month is just too expensive.”

He said he could not continue to buy the medication and if the stock out continued, he would have to book himself into hospital as without his medication, his depression was “uncontrollable”.

A Northdale resident, who asked not to be named, said she had been without blood sugar tablets for her diabetes for three months.

She said she had tried to buy the medication from a private pharmacist but could not afford the amount she was given by state clinics.

“I am a pensioner so I could only buy what I could afford which was not a lot.

“The clinic tells us they are out of stock and the state hospitals are out of stock and cannot tell us when they will have my medication again,” said the concerned pensioner.

In the National Medicine Stock Out report released this week, it was reported that KZN was the province that most often had stock outs of the epilepsy medication Sodium Valproate.

It said 22% of medical facilities in KZN were affected by the epilepsy medication stock outs.

In a release by Dr Stan Moloabi, executive healthcare manager at the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) yesterday, it said it is believed that about one South African in 100 will suffer from epilepsy at some stage in their life.

Moloabi said that epilepsy impacts hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa. “ … Seizures may have many different causes and anyone could suffer one at some point in their lives.

“A seizure is a surge of electrical activity in the brain that affects how a person feels or acts for a time.

“Epilepsy is usually treated with the use of medicines known as anticonvulsants. In some cases treating the underlying medical condition that is causing the seizures may help to control it. For example, the successful removal of a brain tumour or control of diabetes may stop convulsions,” said the release

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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