Thursday May 30, 2024

Doctors without tools

By Editorial Board
January 21, 2020

About two weeks ago, it was reported that the government hospitals in Karachi and in other parts of Sindh have been facing a crisis. Doctors appointed to them have been desperately short of medicines or even basic equipments such blood bags to deal with health emergencies. In most cases, staff at these hospitals have been forced to ask patients to purchase their own medicines and other supplies. In many cases patients who come to these hospitals are not able to obtain the painkillers, antibiotics, surgical tools and other supplies which are required to run even a small clinic leave alone a major hospital. To make things worse, there has been a shortage of these items at pharmacies too. While some medicine has been made available over the past week or so, the situation is very grim. What can doctors offer, except verbal consultation, if they have no medicines or equipment to treat patients with? Patients requiring surgeries after accidents have had to be turned away and parents of young children had little choice but to try and procure care from other places, normally high-costing private hospitals.

According to the Sindh Health Department, the crisis was created because the government delayed the process of procuring medicines and medical supplies till the end of July last year. The provincial health secretary did set up a complaint redressal committee so that pharmaceutical companies and medical suppliers could approach it and lodge their complaints. The provincial health minister however has said that the shortages have been created due to multiple stay orders, which led to medicines not being purchased.

The issue of drug shortages is one that is being reported from many parts of the country and has created huge problems for patients, including those suffering chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Given that the drug shortage is putting lives at risks, a solution has to be found before there are more unnecessary deaths and more sufferings. All concerned authorities must step in and find a way to solve the problem.