Breaking News

Drug availability in clinics improves

23 Mar 2023

Drug availability in clinics and hospitals across the country has improved compared to last year.

Addressing the ongoing Mahalapye District full council session on Tuesday, Mahalapye District Hospital chief pharmacist, Dr Milton Ookeditse said like other countries Botswana was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to a shortage of drugs towards the end of 2022. 

“There was low production and poor supply of medication as production companies focused on COVID-19 vaccines. The situation led to the unavailability of drugs in health facilities nationwide as the Ministry of Health did not receive their medication orders like in past years. 

The situation has been addressed and medication consignments have been arriving since November 2022,” he told councillors.

He also said Botswana, like other countries, established its essential drug list based on the World Health Organisation model and that essential drugs were selected based on disease prevalence, efficacy, safety and cost.

However, he said reaching the 85 per cent target had been a challenge in all categories of drugs.

He also noted the lack of manufacturing companies locally and the non availability of drugs at the Central Medical Store and at local suppliers. 

Another challenge, Dr Okeditse said, was delays in delivery from other countries and logistical issues when importing medicines.

For their part, councillors applauded the Ministry of Health for addressing the medication challenge as it had been a major concern because people’s lives were at risk.

They urged health authorities to communicate with community leaders on time whenever there was a challenge in order for them to update the public.

Councillors also said health authorities should ensure that medication was distributed countrywide because patients were suffering as some could not afford to buy medication from pharmacies.

They complained about poor customer service in hospitals, saying nurses and caregivers should confirm with other clinics if there was medication before sending patients to check. 

Responding to comments, Dr Ookeditsee said the Mahalapye District Health Management Team (DHMT) would start giving health updates and reporting to community leaders. 

He also promised that the DHMT would improve its customer service.

He noted that drugs were expensive and that the amount allocated to  purchase them was not enough. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Gaone Fati

Location : MAHALAPYE

Event : Council meeting

Date : 23 Mar 2023