Inexcusable and Inadmissible
Hundreds of patients admitted to SMHS Hospital have been forced to purchase emergency and essential medicines from the open market. Some of the drugs are even available in the hospital but are not being given to patients as doctors have declared them of “poor efficacy”. This is in the nature of both a tragedy and a travesty primarily because of the human costs involved. It amounts to stating the obvious that often times, it is the poor and vulnerable segments of society that have no choice but to take recourse to public hospitals. This is not to discriminate against the well of segments of society. In the final analysis, all are human and being humans, all suffer. The question arises why there is a shortage of drugs and what accounts for and explains the “poor efficacy” of medicines available. There is either something fishy going on or there is inefficient administration. Either way, it is the patients that suffer. This condition which can be fatal, at times, needs to and must be remedied. First and foremost, there must be accountability of a vigorous nature. That is, accountability measures must be instituted at all levels in all hospitals which should then be monitored even more stringently. Second, the procurement and distribution of medicine and medical supplies must be tightened up and made more efficient. Leakages, pilferage and other forms of losses must be accounted for and attempted to be curtailed to a bare minimum. Third, there should be a holistic overhaul of hospital administration. Hospital administration is a management discipline and domain in its own right and people who specialize in it must be hired on a preferential basis for these positions. Last, it must be checked whether there is an unethical or even illegal relationship between chemists, pharmacists and so on. If there is, the culprits involved must not only be shamed and named but punished. Admittedly, there are somewhat longish term measures which would not take care of the immediate crises. While these long term measures are important and must be instituted, in the realm of immediacy, what must be done is to provide all hospitals, including the SMHS, with adequate supply of drugs and medicines on a war footing. All lives are important and while life and death are in the hands of the Almighty, it is imperative and incumbent upon us to do our bit to save these and stave of miseries.