– APNU’s Shadow Health Minister calls situation “a scandal”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has long underscored that pharmacists have a crucial role in quality
assurance and the safe and effective administration of drugs.
Moreover, the role of a pharmacist in any health care system has been recognised as especially crucial.
However, adhering to this WHO recommendation may not always be something that all health sectors of the world can fully embrace.
In fact, such a development is reportedly occurring right here in Guyana.
Based on reports coming out of Port Kaituma, Barima/Waini, Region One, there has been no pharmacist at the Port Kaituma Community Hospital for a protracted period and some residents are becoming increasingly concerned about this state of affairs.
It was only recently that residents of the Region had expressed concern to this publication that they had received expired drugs from the very health facility.
While the dispensing of expired drugs is certainly not recommended, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, had told this publication some time ago, that the expiration of pharmaceuticals is a development that can be rarely prevented.
In fact, he alluded even then to the fact that the situation is not one that is deemed worrisome since WHO has accepted the possibility of such occurrences, albeit in as small as possible quantities.
But some residents of Port Kaituma are nonetheless convinced that they are being neglected since from all indications, no moves are being made to address the absence of a pharmacist to efficiently dispense pharmaceuticals to them.
This publication was yesterday informed that in the absence of a pharmacist, a nurse has been assisting the dispensing process.
However, other reports coming out of the Region suggest that unqualified persons are also involved in the process.
Additionally, this publication was reliably informed by the residents that in recent weeks
there have been no senior health care worker(s) supervising the dispensing of medication to persons visiting the health facility. In fact, there are reports that members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been asked to volunteer their services at the hospital’s pharmacy.
Reports are that the CSOs are among a group of persons who are paid stipends to undertake health related duties in the Region as the need arises. “These people are dressed in scrubs (medical practitioners attire) performing duties of which they are entirely unqualified to do,” one senior health official told this publication.
Although this publication was not able to confirm this development with officials of the Ministry of Health, word of the existing state of affairs has reached to A Partnership for National Unity’s Shadow Minister of Health, Dr. George Norton.
Dr. Norton in an invited comment voiced his concern that such a situation could be allowed to happen. He has insisted too that such practices could have disastrous outcomes. “We just can’t allow that (dispensing of drugs) to fall into the hands of unqualified persons…that is nothing less than a scandal that should never be allowed to happen,” added an evidently concerned Dr. Norton.
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