Friday, August 23, 2013

Namibia: Drug Shortage Hits Govt Medical Stores

The Ministry of Health and Social Service's pharmaceutical warehouse at the Central Medical Stores (CMS) in Windhoek has run out of some medicine stock.

The ministry's public relations officer, Ester Paulus, confirmed the drug supply shortage at CMS but said she could not comment further.

Paulus, however, said the ministry is still investigating and that they would release a formal statement regarding the shortage of stock next week.

"We cannot say anything at the moment as we are still investigating," she said.

But inside sources yesterday said the government's inventory of drugs has been exhausted for a while now.

They also said that the situation is frustrating at some of the State hospitals because it appears as if the medical personnel is not doing its job of supplying essential medication to the patients.

A pharmacist at one of the State hospitals said the list of drugs that are currently out of stock is long.

"Some of the medicine has been out of stock since the beginning of the year and we are forced to improvise and look for substitute medicine," the pharmacist revealed.

The pharmacist further said a certain injection called propranolol that helps relieve hypertension has especially been in short supply since the beginning of the year.

"We have a formula where we calculate how much stock is needed for every product and we usually order an additional number for each product for the waiting period but now the supply of stock is below the demand if there is any supply at all," said the pharmacist.

According to the pharmacist, the situation has forced the hospital to order some of the stock from private suppliers, which is very expensive.

A nurse at one of the hospitals said that for a while now, there has been a shortage of Chlorohexidine oral-rinse in their wards. "Patients are really struggling because of this," the nurse said.

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