Saturday, October 16, 2021

Botswana hit by shortage of medication, medical cards

Government is aware of the shortage of medicines and medical cards in hospitals and clinics across the country.

In the meantime the public is growing weary of the frequent shortage attributed in some part to inefficiencies within the public health sector. “The reasons for recurrence of shortages are due to some internal inefficiencies  which I am currently addressing and also my Ministry is experiencing late deliveries by some suppliers and failure to deliver sufficient quantities as ordered by CMS,” revealed the Minister of Health and Wellness Dorcas Makgato.

The situation is said to have spiraled out of control. And members of parliament are worried. To address the situation the Central Medical Stores (CMS) is giving priority to medicines used to treat critical illness by ensuring that at all times two or more medicines used in these conditions are in stock.

“This makes it possible for health workers to prescribe and use alternative medicines where one is not available. In addition my Ministry has given health facilities funds to procure from the private market items that are out of stock at CMS,” Makgato said in Parliament on Monday.

She is also aware of the critical shortage of medical cards/forms in the country in general.

To address the situation the Ministry of Health and Wellness procured the aforementioned cards and forms in November as deliveries to facilities is ongoing.

“Going forward we will continue to use savings within our budget to meet the demand and partner with some of our stakeholders like the Botswana Defence Force to meet some of the costs,” the Minister said.

On an annual basis the Ministry requires a total budget of close to P10 million to print patients cards, laboratory forms, Obstetric  Record Forms, drug forms to mention just a few basic requirements.

However due to budgetary constraints this has now been reduced to     P500,000.

“This therefore means we have to wait until we have savings to print. This is compounded by the fact that 70% of our patients return to our facilities without their patient cards,” Makgato noted.

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