State medicines left to rot

2019-05-27 15:05
Different kinds of medicine

Different kinds of medicine

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Medication and medical supplies that could have helped thousands of people were left to expire at the former municipal pharmacy in the city centre.

Vagrants have also been helping themselves to some of the items left by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DOH) at the former Pietermaritzburg Msunduzi Municipal Pharmacy.

The facility is in the Professor Nyembezi Centre, on Church Street, from where some of the municipality’s business units, such as sustainable development, operate.

The pharmacy was taken over by the DOH after the local clinics were transferred from the control of the City to the provincial government.

“Msunduzi had 21 clinics under its control and they were supplied by one pharmacy, so when the department took over their management in 2012 the pharmacy was also transferred to it,” said a source at the City Hall.

He said the department continued to use the facility to service the local health centres until about three years ago. However, when the department stopped using it, the premises was still packed with thousands of boxes filled with medication, medical supplies and condoms.

“I don’t know why the department let the medication expire when it supposedly cost a lot to buy from suppliers — this is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“I’m sure some of these things could have been used by some of the health centres across the province because we are always hearing reports about shortages of medication and medical supplies in government clinics.”

When TheWitness visited the facility, its main door was not locked and there were no security guards on site. There was also a hole in the roof through which it was said vagrants climbed whenever they wanted.

“Most of the things that were left by the department have been stolen because there is no security but maybe that was deliberate because even the door is not locked,” said another source.

Hundreds of sealed boxes lined the walls, others were scattered across the floor and tables. Bottles of different types of syrups were rolling on the ground and not far from them were dozens of used needles.

“My fear is that one day we are going to find a dead body in here. Someone is going to die from either an overdose or poisoning because I’m sure the vagrants don’t even know what they are injecting themselves with and the cough mixture they are drinking has expired,” he said.

After receiving amedia query about why the DOH had abandoned the facility, the department sent a team to remove some of the items.

The department’s spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said all usable stock from the depot was redistributed to facilities within the uMgungundlovu health district.

“The medication that is no longer usable will be removed from the depot at the end of this month.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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