The National - Monday, February 21, 2011
THE acute shortage of basic medical drugs in rural aid posts in Madang and Karkar is now into its second month as the province’s medical store and supplier remains closed.
Last Thursday, a Karkar islander, Atis Deme, said the situation was uncertain following a weekend visit to his area where he said basic drugs had almost nil supply.
Deme said people with malaria and other serious ilnesses could not be treated as there were no drugs like artemeter.
“At Murukanam, Miak and Mapor aid posts on Karkar, patients were being turned away. This situation is getting serious and the health department which promised to build a new medical store for Madang back in 2005 had not done so,” he said.
In support of Deme, acting provincial health director Paul Mabong, last week, confirmed that the prolonged delay by the health department was contributing to unnecessary deaths.
However, there had been no figures given for the number of deaths directly resulting from the low supply of medicine.
The medical store which was closed last December due to termite infestation and declared unfit for habitation was still awaiting payments from the province for the promised 50 pallets needed to store the drugs in.
Mabong confirmed that only 20 had been made but a further delay of two weeks for accounts to be opened was adding to the problem.
The Maritime College, early last month, agreed to provide storage space for the medical supplies for a year free of charge.
Mabong also said the Madang urban local level government which had responded due to the seriousness of the matter, had allowed them to use the condemned building as cooling room for certain drugs only until they relocated.
A site had been identified between the Lands office and the Madang Nursing College where the current water reservoir was.
Attempts to get comments from executive director corporate service, health department, Paul Dopsy were unsuccessful.