No heart pills at hospital, says pensioner

2015-07-13 10:14

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Pietermaritzburg - A Newcastle pensioner has been without essential heart medication for three months due to shortages at Madadeni Hospital.

This comes after The Witness revealed in reports last month that there had been a national shortage of penicillin, pain medication and certain doses of ARVs, namely, Abacavir.

The department released a statement in response to the shortage and said it had taken steps to ensure that medication was re-stocked in hospitals and clinics.

The patient, who would not be named for fear of victimisation, said that aside from being unable to get her heart medication, she had also been told that medication for her high cholesterol and osteoporosis were also out of stock and had been so for three months.

“Every month I go back to check if it has arrived, and they tell me they are out of stock and do not have a service provider for the medication.

“I am 70 years old and sometimes have trouble walking because of the osteoporosis.

“Each month I have to catch a taxi 20km to the hospital just to find out they do not have my medication.”

The pensioner said she had resorted to going to a private pharmacy to get her medication, which was more expensive than the hospital. However, she said the pharmacy often gave her a discount. “I have explained my situation to them and they said they would help me as much as they could until the hospital had stock again.

“They give me discounts which helps, because it would be too expensive otherwise.”

In a statement released to The Witness on Sunday, DA MPL Dr Imran Keeka said he was extremely concerned by the pensioner’s ordeal. “To make matters worse, the pensioner spends R75 travelling from Newcastle to Madadeni hospital each month to see a doctor and collect her medicines.

“She simply cannot afford to make this trip more than once a month to collect medication if and when it may become available.

“Certainly she is a victim of a system which is failing so many, and there are undoubtedly millions more in KZN who find themselves in a similar situation at clinics where even paracetamol is not available,” said Keeka.

He added that the DA would form a file of similar incidents and submit it to the South African Human Rights Commission.

Speaking for the KZN Health Department, Desmond Motha said they did not entertain such stories if the complainant would not reveal his or her identity.

“These stories tarnish the medical profession, because when you ask people at ground level about these instances, they don’t know anything.”

He declined to comment further.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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