– hospital report cites two similar fatalities
A six year old boy was recently added to a list of two persons who died at the Leonora Cottage Hospital due to shortage of oxygen and medication at the facility.
This was revealed in the minutes of a recent statuary meeting which quoted assistant administrator of the institution, Dev Hira as saying that a report compiled by the hospital’s Cuban Director states that the child died due to the lack of oxygen.
In the minutes, seen by Kaieteur News, Hira is quoted as telling regional councilors that the child’s death is the third incident of this kind at the institution. The minutes made no mention of what steps the hospital’s administration will implement to correct this situation.
During an interview with this newspaper, the region’s Alliance for Change Councillor, Dr. Kamal Narine noted that all is not well with the region’s health care system.
He said that apart from the continuous and dangerous instances of drug shortage that have been affecting the country, there is a possibility that most of the medication in Region Three is expired.
Dr. Narine said that when the region submits claims for drugs, the drugs are usually lodged at the storage bond of the West Demerara Regional Hospital. He explained that whenever the other facilities of the region need supplies, they would request it from that hospital’s bond.
Protocol is that the requested medications would be lodged at the bond of the requesting hospital, and staffers there would inspect the supplies before sending them to the respective departments.
However, in Region Three, Dr. Narine alleged that on many occasions, the requested supplies of medications are sent directly to the respective departments, not affording staffers the chance to inspect the delivery in order to ensure that it is of proper quality.
“This is a mad, mad situation. In situations like this, you even got people being treated with wrong doses. Then there is no proper audit of the drugs, so I am sure that many are expired,” Dr. Narine posited.
Because he is a member of the region’s health committee, which has insights on the health issues facing the district, he does not utilize the services offered.
“It’s frightening. I would prefer go to a private institution,” Dr. Narine declared, adding that even the X-ray machine at the Leonora Hospital does not work.
The AFC Councillor maintained that the region’s health system is problem-plagued, and that those in authority at the Ministry of Health seem not to care.
“Imagine you can be injected with something that they mistake for something else, and you can die. How more serious can our system get? This is something that is really bothering me, and some of the other councilors, but the government is not doing anything to change this situation.”
Kaieteur News was told that during the region’s recent statutory meeting, the Regional Health Officer, Ms. Nadia Coleman told councilors that she was no longer prepared to deal with the region’s health struggles, since the shortage of drugs cannot be pinned on her.
According to two of the councilors, the woman explained that whenever she requests four or five oxygen cylinders, the region would receive two or three.
“I was made to understand that they does be telling her that the supplies are wasting, so that’s the situation.”
When the region’s administration receives the short stock of oxygen, Coleman is reportedly forced to make the call as to which one of the hospitals and health centres should benefit from the supply.
“This is nonsense! And we have the Minister doing nothing. Before, we used to have problems, yes, but this new Minister…I don’t know what he doing,” one of the councilors said.
Just recently, a resident of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo who suffered a stroke also blamed this on the lack of drugs and equipment at both the Tuschen Health Centre and the Leonora Cottage Hospital.
According to the elderly man who is diabetic, a few weeks ago, he started visiting the health centre repeatedly to have his blood sugar level monitored.
However, he claimed he was told by nurses there, that this could not be done since there were no machines or strips to do so.
A few days later, Ali developed complications due to his condition and had to be rushed to the Emergency Unit of the Leonora public health facility, where he said he was told that there wasn’t an adequate supply of medication.
Ali subsequently suffered a mild stroke, and Kaieteur News understands that both the aforementioned public health facilities are in short supply of drugs to treat common illnesses like cold and cough.
“Not even for children,” he said.
Another AFC Councillor of Region Three, Harry Deokinanan said that the drug situation in his district has deteriorated to the extent where even the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Councillors are beginning to speak out.
He said that even though some of the facilities might ‘look nice’ on the outside, they lack the resources to execute some very basic treatments.
“If you got a health institution in a region and people can’t benefit from it, then what is the point? If people can’t go to a hospital or health centre in Region Three and get simple treatments, then what is the point?”
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