Medicine shortage at Herstelling Health Centre - elderly patients feel the squeeze
SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
A number of elderly patients who frequent the Herstelling Health Centre, located on the East Bank of Demerara, are complaining that for the past three months they have not been receiving quality treatment or medication.
Some of the patients waiting outside of the facility to see the doctor on duty.
Reports are that the medex who is attached to this health centre is currently on maternity leave, however; even before she left, patients began to experience problems in having tests conducted and obtaining proper medication from the facility. Kaieteur News understands that many patients are being given prescriptions where they have to purchase the medication instead of being given the medicines.
“We are pensioners. We come here from 04:30am and 05:00am to get test and treatment. We were told many times not to eat and they have us here all hours… until like 13:00hrs or 14:00hrs… and then we get looked at. Many times they giving us short tablets. Like if we got to get six different types. We only getting two and have to buy the other four. It ain’t cheap to do this all the time,” complained one woman.
When this newspaper visited the health centre yesterday morning, a number of patients were lined up outside of the building, awaiting their turn for treatment Another elderly woman explained that she has been visiting the said health centre for the past two months and arrives at 05:00 am to ‘line up’ since there is no organized manner in which the facility is being run. “Dey don’t have no number system here. If you and dem is friends dey looking at you first. It is after 10am and only seven people gone in. Dey don’t have no medication and dey don’t do no dressing here when you get cuts. We got to go Public Hospital. When we go there it very costly to travel and den dem telling we how Herstelling suppose to do dressing here. But dey don’t!” she argued.
The Herstelling Health Centre
Some others stated that the centre did not have coated aspirins or ‘B-complex’ tablets to distribute to those who needed it. “Dey need to send drugs here. Dis centre ain’t got nothing here. Dey don’t even have enough strips to do the tests for diabetics. Imagine that! And most ah we hey coming fuh treatment fuh we diabetes. So what we going to do now?” one female patient asked.
A man related his story to Kaieteur News. “I went to Diamond Hospital and it had too much people. I went to Woodlands, they send me to Balwant Singh to do heart test. Balwant Singh dem tell me I got to pay $1M for treatment etc because I get heart blockage. I tek in back (got sick again) and went Georgetown Public Hospital in June and I was using heart tablet. But apparently it was building up my pressure. I went to Eccles to a private doctor who crush up the tablets and tell me I was being treated for the wrong thing. De young doctors dem don’t seem to know nothing. So much money being spent here and dey don’t have medication for we. Dey tell you come here and we come ‘cause we are poor people… and den dey can’t help we.”
A nurse on duty told the crowd (while Kaieteur News was present) that they did not have anymore test strips for diabetics to be tested. This caused a lot of patients to complain. “At public (Georgetown Hospital) dem giving diabetic people machine, dey giving cholesterol tablets but hey dey ain’t even gat de basics. So much money spending on drugs and hey dey have a big health clinic with nothing. The treatment hey is very bad. The place ain’t even clean. The last time dis happen dem seh dem nah gat transportation to bring de drugs. Now dem saying is not dem fault it ain’t got drugs,” added another elderly man.
When Kaieteur News approached the nurse at the centre for a comment, she insisted that the health centre had enough drugs to supply a certain intake of patients. “We have enough for the day, but it how the patients are being looked at that determines how the limited medication is distributed, I mean the ones who reach first will get the advantage of securing medications.” said the nurse.
Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr Bheri Ramsarran, when contacted for a comment, promised to do so today. Meanwhile Regional Chairman, Clement Corlette, explained that he did not know of this situation until Kaieteur News brought it to his attention. “I am not aware of this happening at the Herstelling Health Centre. I spoke with Doctor Waddle who also stated that she was not aware of this”. Kaieteur News understands that the relevant authorities will now be looking into the matter.