Severe shortages of medicines make it difficult for many people to obtain essential medical care and, as a result, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) called on the Medicines Control Council to urgently approve the all-important Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which protects babies from severe types of tuberculosis (TB).
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The political party is convinced the right to health care for people of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is seriously undermined, with no end in sight.
IFP KZN provincial spokesman on health, Ncamisile Nkwanyana, said: “We have learnt that there is a dire shortage of this vaccine countrywide which has also affected some newborn babies in KwaZulu-Natal. The delay in approving this much-needed vaccine is unnecessary and this issue must be resolved without any further delay.
“It is unacceptable that there are gaps in medicine supply and delivery in KZN state hospitals and clinics. There should be more use made of direct supply from companies to health facilities instead of reliance on inefficient regional depots.”
She added that the urgency of the situation suggests the issue requires a disaster-type response and not a ‘business as usual’ approach.
“This drug shortage has been going on for months now and there is no indication as to if and when it might end. Contingency plans should be put in place by all medical suppliers so that, if supply is interrupted, patients are not affected. Failure to remedy this would be a violation of the constitutional rights of patients and a further breach of the KZN Department of Health’s obligations,” she said.
South Coast Herald is awaiting comment from Port Shepstone Regional Hospital and Murchison Hospital on whether they do have the all-important vaccine.
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