Medicine shortages hit Bara patients

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Patients at [b]Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital[/b] have been sent home without their medication because of a shortage of essential medicines, reports [s]The Times[/s]. Several sources at the hospital said there were no anti-depressants , no fixed-dose combination antiretrovirals, only one anti-psychotic and many more shortages of essential medicines.

‘I have mentally ill people with HIV and I cannot offer them any psychiatric drugs, and now I cannot even offer antiretrovirals. We are constantly in crisis mode,’ said Dr Greg Jonsson, head of the HIV psychiatric programme.

Baragwanath is one of several hospitals and clinics hit by shortages of life-saving medicines and the situation is getting worse, the [b]Stop Stock Outs Project[/b] has reported.

‘Over the last 30 days, 53 different medications in the province have been reported out of stock at facilities in [b]Gauteng[/b]. Only five of those cases have been resolved. There are still 47 medications that range from treating HIV and TB to mental health, maternal health and more out of stock,’ project manager Bella Hwang said.

Baragwanath Hospital referred queries to the [b]Gauteng Health Department[/b], which did not respond. But Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has stated stock will be built up.

Jack Bloom, [b]DA[/b] spokesperson for health in Gauteng, said: ‘Doctors are tearing out their hair in frustration. This crisis is all over the place and short stock is also happening at [b]Charlotte Maxeke[/b] and [b]Helen Joseph[/b] (hospitals). Gauteng has 10,000 medicine items out of stock. The availability of essential drugs is down to 77% and essential drugs are what they say, essential. This is tragic and affecting thousands of patients.’

Full report in The Times

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