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Hospitals directed to give medicine, not prescriptions

…Chembe clinic medical personnel abandon patients, anger minister
From NANCY SIAME in Chembe
HEALTH workers at Chembe District Zonal Health Centre in Mansa have angered Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya for leaving patients unattended to.
And Dr Chilufya, who is also Mansa Central member of Parliament, has directed all hospitals across the country to stop giving prescriptions to patients to go and buy medicines but they should instead ensure to have adequate stocks of drugs.
Dr Chilufya arrived at Chembe District Zonal Health Centre on Saturday around 16:00 hours and found male and female patients, including children, admitted to one ward, which was dirty with no health workers in sight.
Dr Chilufya found a three-year-old girl seriously ill with a temperature of 40 degrees and he attended to her.
He also attended to other patients before two midwives arrived two hours later after he called Luapula Province medical officer Mathews Ng’ambi.
“We will not tolerate any medical personnel to frustrate Government’s efforts to deliver quality health care,” Dr Chilufya told the visibly shaken midwives.
He was unhappy that male and female patients, including children, were admitted to the same ward despite the fact that there is an empty ward, which is locked.
Dr Chilufya said it is unacceptable for health workers to leave “vulnerable” patients unattended to the whole day.
“It is gross negligence, incompetence, and bad leadership in the entire province,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said health workers are breaching the trust that people have in them.
“Patients are the most vulnerable people. How do you abandon them when they need you most? It is a very sad situation,” Dr Chilufya said.
He warned that Government will take stern action for such misconduct and urged Dr Ng’ambi to re-orient health workers and to change their attitude towards work.
Chembe district commissioner Simon Lwando said he was at the health facility around 12:00 hours and did not find any health worker.
Mr Lwando said the workers at the clinic have a negative attitude towards work and they often leave patients to be attended to by a cleaner.
“I have even complained to the provincial medical officer and asked that all the staff here be taken elsewhere because it is like they have overstayed and have taken their work for granted,” Mr Lwando said.
Dr Chilufya organised people to sweep the male ward and to remove the mosquito nets kept there.
One of the patients, Mutale Mwansa, said she has been admitted to the health centre for two days and she was only attended to by a student nurse in the morning.
Earlier, Dr Chilufya toured Mansa General Hospital where he directed all hospitals across the country to stop giving prescriptions to patients to buy medicines but to ensure that they have adequate stock of drugs.
Dr Chilufya said he has received several reports of hospitals running out of drugs and issuing prescriptions to patients.
He said it is unacceptable for hospitals to run out of drugs when there are sufficient stocks at Medical Stores.
“There is no room to run out of drugs and consumables because we have sufficient drugs. I have been receiving reports of you asking people to buy their own gloves to carry out surgeries. This is unacceptable and it has to stop,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said hospitals must revise their essential drugs list and increase their sealing.
“There must be effective communication among stakeholders and daily stock of medicine must be done, a sense of urgency needs to be attached to this,” Dr Chilufya said.
He also urged Medical Stores to ensure newly-created districts have their own ordering points so that they do not depend on other towns.
Mansa General Hospital pharmacist Prudence Musonda said the hospital spends 50 percent of its grant on procurement of medicines and Dr Chilufya described this as unacceptable.
Dr Chilufya later handed over an ambulance to Chipeta Rural Health Centre.

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