No oral rehydration solution at the Linden Hospital

Dear Editor,

Last Saturday, I accompanied a friend and two-year-old child to the Linden Hospital. The little boy had been vomiting for several days and was getting dehydrated. The nurse in charge examined the child, recommended saline and a couple of injections, and then wrote a prescription to be filled at the hospital’s pharmacy. Of the six items prescribed, the pharmacy at the hospital was only able to provide two. Appallingly, the hospital’s pharmacy lacked some of the most basic items including Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and panadol syrup. Diarrhoeal illness is among the leading causes of death for children under 5 and ORS is one of the most important treatments to reduce mortality from such diseases. That the public hospital in the second largest city of Guyana would be out of stock of this crucial, lifesaving treatment speaks volumes about the lack of regard for the life and wellbeing of the citizens of this nation by those in charge of protecting and safeguarding our health. The fact that the Ministry of Health in Guyana has been unable to establish a proper system to ensure a consistent supply of basic medications such as these to the Guyanese public is appalling. Millions of dollars have been spent to build drug storage facilities and millions more have gone to private companies for the provision of such drugs, but the shelves of the hospital pharmacies remain bare, and when a sick child needs this basic treatment, he is sent away from the public hospital empty handed. This is inexcusable. Where is the oversight into how this money is being spent? Why are MOH staff unable to implement a system of tracking drug expiration dates and ensuring a timely supply so that shortages do not occur? This is not brain surgery. Before building ‘specialty hospitals’ and embarking on medical tourism, the Guyana Ministry of Health should first be able to provide basic care to a two- year old.

Yours faithfully,
S Nageer

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