“Lactating mothers, under five children and pregnant women are reporting to the Centre on a daily basis for treatment but we continue to turn them down as drugs are not available in the Centre. Nurse Koroma stated.”
She further revealed that the unavailability of drugs has forced them in some cases to write drug prescriptions for patients and ask them to buy them at pharmacies, adding that the shortage has serious hampered the entire free healthcare policy as it was designed by government and its health partners.
The nurse went on to say the credibility of nurses in that part of the country is at stake as the public has hold the view that nurses are selling the drugs and depriving patients.
Also expressing similar concern was Margaret Kabia, Assistant Community Health Officer-In-Charge of the Under-Five Clinic at Magburaka, Tonkolili district. She said: “The pharmacy in the Primary Health Unit has dried up and there are not enough drugs to treat especially pregnant women and children. Thank God for the intervention of Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) in Magburaka that has helped immensely to fill the gap with support of drugs.”
She said MSF team has not only provided drugs for all the categories meant for the free healthcare but has also afforded the people of Tonkolili district with other drugs and sophisticated medical equipment.
She noted however that majority of under-fives, pregnant women and lactating mothers residing out of Magburaka are finding it difficult to enjoy MSF golden medical opportunity.
Information, Communications and Education Officer for Tonkolili District Council, Steven Bangura also told this writer that the scarcity of free health medical drugs in Tonkolili is a national issue affecting all health centres in that part of the country.
He said the Tonkolili District Council is doing all it could to ensure that the impact is mitigated through motivating health workers to make do with what is available, building more health centres and the maintenance of feeder roads leading to the different health centres in the district.
He therefore pleaded to the nurses and patients to exercise patience as the problem of free health care drugs will be resolved in the shortest possible time.
Zainab Sesay, a pregnant woman admitted on bed rest at the Magburaka Government hospital said most of his drugs are bought by his husband at private pharmacies outside the hospital and this has been costing them huge amount of money.