Expired drugs alarm

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THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care yesterday raised the alarm on the alleged poor supervision at government hospitals after some expired drugs were reportedly found in pharmacies.

STAFF REPORTER

Committee chairperson Ruth Labode said a lot of drugs had expired without the knowledge of the hospitals’ management and the government.

She said they had found a lot of expired drugs at Ingutsheni Central Hospital that should have not been at the mental institution.

Labode claimed that when the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) got wind of her committee’s tour of Ingutsheni on Tuesday and they destroyed all the expired drugs.

“We observed it yesterday (Tuesday) at Ingutsheni that a lot of drugs had expired and they should not have been there,” she said.

She listed some of the expired drugs Catheters, Antalgic gait, Albendazole, Nifedipine, anti-retroviral drugs and oral gels among others.

“We were told that the drugs were donated by donors already expired.

“I think as country it’s time we started refusing aid when someone says they are giving you $40 million when they are actually giving you $40 million worth of expired drugs,” Labode said.

“I want to believe that it is due to poor monitoring systems and supervision is poor because you discover that these drugs have expired and the top management does not know, not even does the ministry know.

“I wonder what happened to the system of brotherhood where institutions would move drugs around town or in the neighbouring districts, if there is a drug that is not moving well in Nkayi it should quickly find its way either to Binga or central hospitals where they consume a lot of drugs.”

Labode said the ashes they found at UBH showed that the institution had burnt substantial amounts of expired drugs.

“When we came here, all the drugs were up in fire and you could tell from the ashes that there were substantial drugs that had actually been burnt which expired, that also worries me, they also claim that the bulk of the drugs are expired already because they come almost expired from the donors,” she said.

However, UBH chief executive officer Nonhlanhla Ndlovu in a separate interview said the hospital had no expired drugs. She said they had received authority to destroy the drugs six months ago.

During the meeting with Mpilo Central Hospital management Labode raised the issue of drugs found at Ingutsheni.

She said Ingutsheni had alleged that neighbouring hospitals had not responded to calls by the mental institution to get drugs from them until they expired, allegations that Mpilo management refuted.

Meanwhile,  Labode said  the meeting with UBH management revealed the collapse of the zoning system of UBH and Mpilo Central Hospital.

“The zoning system, which zoned that UBH takes Matabeleland South and Mpilo takes Matabeleland North has collapsed, so has the referral system because most people from the districts just come directly to UBH,” she said.