Medical centres across the country are on the verge of running out of medicines due to a shortage of pharmaceutical products. This was confirmed on Wednesday, August 8th by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Since last week, all hospitals have been affected by this shortage in their supplies. However, San Pedro’s supplies are still at a healthy level due to the continued donations the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic receives from different organizations, such as the Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye.
One of the institutions hardest hit by the shortage is the Southern Regional Hospital and the Independence Polyclinic in the Stann Creek District. Antibiotics, antibacterial drugs and even drugs such as Azithromycin used to treat certain kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, are among the depleted medications. Medicine for treating bacterial infections, like bronchitis and pneumonia, are also low in stock.
Chief Executive Officer at MOH, Dr. Ramon Figueroa confirmed that there is also a shortage of bandages, gauze, and syringes. Figueroa claims that it is not his Ministry’s fault, but the private supplier. “We are in the process of purchasing some items for right now,” said Figueroa. “We are having a little bit of disagreement in terms of what the lead time is because we expect that all the materials be delivered next week. I was just made to understand that the provider is saying that the lead time is at the end of August. That is not our understanding. So we are going to deal directly with that provider to make sure that the things are here on time.” Figueroa stated that if the provider does not meet the deadline by ending of August, the Government will purchase from somewhere else and bill the supplier. “It will not be the government or the consumer absorbing this additional spending, but the provider,” said Figueroa.
In the meantime, MOH has already sought approval from the Ministry of Finance in order to purchase the necessary supplies for the public hospitals in case their private supplier does not meet the deadline by the end of August.