Patients groan as shortage of drugs hits Enugu hospitals

TUBERCULOSIS patients in Enugu State, especially from Enugu-North Local Government     Area and its environs, are now facing a hard time following the breakdown of GeneXpert  machine used in diagnosing TB patients in the hospital.

The special hospital, which is located at Ogrute, Enugu-Ezike, is a referral centre for TB patients in Enugu State and neighbouring communities from Benue and Kogi states.

Maka Ndigbo, which went round the various hospitals in Enugu North Senatorial Zone during the just concluded 2016 health week organised by the Enugu State government in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund (UNCEF), also observed that essential drugs for treatment of uncomplicated malaria infections due to plasmodium falciparum in adults and children are hard to find in many of the hospitals.

In Igboeze North and other local government councils, health workers employed by the state government are also agitating for better condition of service and regular payments of salaries.

A staff of the local government, who did not want his name in print, told Maka Ndigbo that the health workers had been agitating for an enhanced salaries and allowances since the era of Dr Chimaroke Nnamani in 1999. “There was a time the health workers embarked on strike to press home their demand but to no avail”, the source revealed.

It was gathered that patients in the hospitals are also faced with irregular supply of power and water, prompting staff and patients to seek alternative measures like buying of water from water tankers for use.

Further checks revealed that candles and lanterns are sometimes used during surgical operations of patients due to lack of electricity generating sets in many of the hospitals in the area.

“No borehole in the hospital premises. An NGO, PATHS, wanted to help but the villagers refused for the fact that the old ones in the community should be maintained first,” a health worker who preferred to remain anonymous said in an interview at Enugu-Ezike.

According to the respondent, ” As it is, the breaking down of GeneXpert machine used to diagnose TB patients has not helped matter as it is now extremely difficult to test TB patients who come for treatment. The machine broke down two months ago.”

The health worker further said: “In some local government areas, patients are compelled to bring their own lanterns for use during surgical operations on them.

“The development had pushed many patients to patronise private hospitals in this area. Another problem is that resident doctors are not residing in hospital premises, leaving patients at the mercy of few nurses around. The residents doctors operate from their homes because there is no residential quarters. There is no Call Duty house for doctors and nurses who are on shift as it was in the past,” the health worker concluded.