Where There is a Medical Doctor Without Medicine

By Deng Mangok Ayuel

November 5, 2013 (SSNA) — Believe me or not, some of the civil hospitals in our country are lacking drugs. Is it a laxity from hospitals management? And do we really lack medicines? One of the hospitals faced by shortage of medicines is Aweil Civil Hospital in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. The hospital is big with many nurses, clinical officers but no medications. Who should be blamed? I know there are austerity measures but that shouldn’t reduce our hospitals to nightmare of the day. I am tired of its administration.

Last week, I had a partner with a snake bite where I rushed to the hospital for therapy. When reaching the hospital, the clinical officer hurriedly did his best by diagnosing a sick person and asked me to buy medicines in private clinic in the town. It was midnight and no pharmacy working in the town. The situation forced me to go to someone’s house to wake him up in order to get medicines. However, I was lucky to get prescribed medication – including paracetamol tablets that can easily be found anywhere in the village’s PHCUs. What would have been the solution if I have no money to buy medications at midnight?

Another road to hell is when the head of a family can’t afford medication to a sick kid. Many people whose pockets are cashed usually board aircrafts to Jordan, Egypt and Nairobi for treatment because a fish can’t live without water, but what of those who don’t have money? Go home to die or go to deceptive village’s herbalist or witchcraft for treatment?

In case the hospital administration is the ghost over the scarcity of medicines in the hospital – the management should be held accountable for failing to provide medications to the citizens whose lives are bounded by poverty which reduce their livelihood to spend less than a dollar per a day.

Our medical recruits are sometimes lacking hearts for their patients. They are sometimes very rude like our policemen. When the patient I took to the hospital was seriously vomiting, a nurse who was in charge of the ward parked her bed sheet and left home. There wasn’t a roster for nurses. They made hospital to be like an office where people work for 8 hours a day and park home. I was left alone with a patient until the following morning. South Sudan has labor law where working hours are stipulated. If people aren’t working, then why do they get paid at the end of the month?

Again, our medical doctors should have hearts for the society. These doctors have had been referring patients to their private clinics which is boring. It’s professionally blind to keep thinking about money in the fields related Law and medicine. A medical doctor isn’t a cash monger but a healer.

In the past decades of civil war in Sudan, our under tree primary health care units were able to give first aid, afford medication at least to sick patients unlike hospitals in the post independent South Sudan. So why –?!  I urge the Director General {DG} in the Ministry of Health to keep close eyes to hospital management or fire those who aren’t willing to serve our people. Where on earth should a medical doctor who works in the same hospital build his pharmacy within hospital premises? If this hospital is turned to be a business centre, will it put up all our businesses?

Look, I am not writing to assert that our people help themselves with public medicines but should it be case, then we are in a huge mess! People should really get going to help our nation. We should be reliable, helpful and transparent in our doings. I worked for an NGO in Aweil Civil Hospital as Hospital Logistician in 2010. I know who is doing what in the hospital. Never tell me lies.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a South Sudanese blogger and lives in Aweil, South Sudan. He can be reached via [email protected]

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