Mar 19, 2021 News
By Allyiah Allicock
Kaieteur News – Faye Abigail Yong, of Shell Road, Kitty, who has been on dialysis treatment since 2018, is calling on the Government of Guyana to look into the struggles and many issues affecting dialysis patients around the country.
Yong on Tuesday took to her Facebook page, where she publicly disclosed that for over a month, dialysis patients at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) have not been receiving medication.
“I am forced to speak out once again. Another week has come and no Epogen injections at the GPHC,” she said in a Facebook status.
Epogen injection medication is used to treat anemia (low red blood cell count) in people with long-term serious kidney disease (chronic kidney failure), people receiving Zidovudine (drug used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection) to treat HIV, and people receiving chemotherapy for some types of cancer. This medication aids in increasing their red blood cells since the kidney is unable to do the job.
Speaking to Kaieteur News, Yong elaborated that she learnt that there was a shipment of the medication that was coming into the country, but something went wrong with the temperature control for the medicine, so it had to be discarded. Epogen has to be refrigerated at a certain temperature and if the temperature rises above that level, it causes the medication to spoil. From what she found out, a new shipment is expected to come in but she does not know when. According to Yong’s post, thousands of her fellow kidney failure patients are being drastically affected and are suffering since the medication is important.
When Kaieteur News contacted the GPHC for a comment, the hospital’s Communications Manager, Chelauna Providence, confirmed that the hospital has been without the Epogen medication for some time. She also confirmed that an entire shipment of the medication, procured through a company, which name was not disclosed, had to be discarded after the cold chain was broken. According to Providence, the hospital has since procured medication through another company, but because of the interruption of supply around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, the shipment has been delayed. Nevertheless, the hospital anticipates that it will soon have the medication for its patients.
In Yong’s post, she went on to state that “the local pharmacies are selling one injection for $7,500 to $8,500 and we need two or three a week. I’ve been trying my best to knock on all doors for help for the kidney disease affected but no avail.”
Ms. Yong, who has been receiving her dialysis treatment two to three times per week at a private facility, has been advocating ever since her diagnosis for the government to look into the plight of persons undergoing dialysis but as she told Kaieteur News, “It’s like we are forgotten.”
Not only that, she explained, but it is the lack of public awareness, dialysis centres in the country and the cost for treatments that have been disheartening to many.
“This is not how Guyanese must be treated especially the vulnerable and the disabled,” Yong stated in her post.
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