During a recent tour facilitated by Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Drugs Bond Manager, June Barry, it was stated, “There is no shortage of drugs at the facility.”
That statement has sparked outrage among medical personnel at the GPHC
It was reported that there had been a shortage of 70/30 Insulin, Lasix, Paracetamol and Aspirin—all of them drugs found on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines. GPHC’s Administrative Manager, Yvonne Bullen, had contended that the 70/30 insulin for adults was indeed in short supply but that there was enough for emergency cases and that an order had been placed for new supplies and expected shortly.
However, this newspaper learnt from credible sources that spoke under the condition of anonymity, that there is a short supply of Paracetamol and Aspirin at the hospital and at some of the various clinics throughout the compound, the Medical Clinic being the chief outlet short of the basic drugs.
The Insulin (70/30) and Lasix situation has reportedly been fixed since the statement was issued.
One source alleged that the tour was nothing but a whimsical attempt by the administration to cover up their purported shortcomings. One staff member posed the question, “If there is no shortage of drugs, then why don’t patients in the medical clinic get Aspirin?”
The source then continued; “Almost everyone in the Medical Clinic needs something as basic as Aspirin.”
Yet another source complained that another aspect was drug mismanagement as there are drugs but they are often expired. These would be sent to the dispensaries, one very concerned member of staff stated.
“But we can’t give the public expired drugs, so there is indeed a shortage of the various drugs at times.”
The case of drugs being expired is reportedly said to be a regular occurrence at Guyana’s leading medical facility. A spokesman close to the issue stated, “It happens all the time; a lot of drugs end up being expired so it’s not just limited to Paracetamol and Aspirin.”
This newspaper was told that the storage bonds at times would be filled with one particular drug in excess and other types at a normal level, thus leading to the overstocked drug expiring.
Kaieteur News spoke to some of the patients in the medical clinic and several people confirmed that while some of their required medical prescriptions were being filled at the hospital’s main pharmacy, they were still being asked to buy Aspirin and Paracetamol in some cases.
Paracetamol, Aspirin and Lasix are described as the cornerstone drugs of the World Health Organization (WHO); basic medication needed in all parts of the world. Paracetamol is often used to relieve minor to moderate pains while Aspirin is used to treat fever, pain and inflammation; medication that most if not all Guyanese have needed to use at some point in their lives.
Kaieteur News attempted to contact Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton for comments regarding the development of this unfolding controversy but was told he would be unavailable for a few days as he was out of Georgetown on outreaches in various parts of the country.
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