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HOSPITAL DRUG SHORTAGES BITE

... as hospitals run out of full blood count reagents

By NATION REPORTER

GOVERNMENT should treat the matter of procuring reagents used in conducting full blood counts with urgency  because people’s lives were at risk, Residents Doctors Association of Zambia president Brian Sampa has said.

Dr Sampa said government needed to quickly intervene because the situation was bad as  the country’s biggest hospital UTH did not have the commodity and had suspended blood count testing. 

Hospitals and clinics have continued grappling  with lack of sufficient medicines as the drugs shortage in the country continues to bite.

Dr Sampa said the revelation that the UTH had suspended full blood count testing because it had run out of reagents was scary .

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Last week UTH head of Haematology Laboratory David Mumena in a memo dated May 30 indicated that the country’s biggest referral  had suspended full blood count testing due to the lack of reagents which are used in the process.

And Sampa has urged n government to expedite the process of acquiring reagents.

Dr Sampa said it was shameful that an institution like UTH could not have things like reagents thereby    putting  people at risk.

He said the problem was that the issue of drugs was  being politicised at the expense of Zambians who were dying.

He also said it was unfortunate that the people that had spoken out were threatened with administrative action for writing that memo.

Dr Sampa said   individuals like Mr Mumena did not commit any wrong  because he did not break the confidentiality code as memos were for public consumption.

“Being the one in charge of the laboratory, the head of department has to tell his or her colleagues to stop drawing blood because the equipment was not available and was not sure when the reagents would be procured,” he said.

Dr Sampa said UTH had various laboratories but that the Haematology one  was the main laboratory whose operation was cardinal.

“It’s very sad that the UTH management want to take   action on the people who did the memo because they were doing the right thing,” he said.

He said the problem was that most workers in these institutions were so scared to an extent of even lying  and that they were shielding  wrongs.

“Civil servants are so scared of the ministry of Health but one thing they should know is that politicians come and go, therefore they should just ensure that they speak the truth,” he said.

Dr Sampa said the issue of the reagents was just a tip of the iceberg as the situation was really bad.

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