Hospital turns to open market for cancer drugs
Posted Thursday, January 24 2013 at 09:16
Officials complain as they cannot get supply from the National Medical Store
St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor, has been a source of relief for thousands of child cancer patients for many decades, but it has run short of drugs and has turned to the open market for the medicines.
According to officials the hospital has been relying on private suppliers for basic drugs to treat clinical signs and symptoms since October 2012.
Dr Cyprian Opira, the director of the hospital, said the situation has become complex because the drugs from the open market were more expensive.
“We have just procured new consignments, but our fear is that sustainability would become a problem since they are expensive,” he said.
A mild cancer treatment is estimated to cost at least Shs50,000, depending on the severity of the infection.
Just two weeks ago, the hospital administration asked the government to reconsider supplying them with basic cancer drugs to enable them to save lives of the needy and poor patients.
“We have been struggling to get the necessary drugs since last year. We are hoping that the government starts supplying us with the cancer drugs like government hospitals because the beneficiaries are the same people,” Dr Opira noted.
Health ministry has only been supplying the cancer drugs for government hospitals while patients with special treatment calls are always referred to the National Cancer Institute at Mulago.
Ms Sarah Opendi Achieng, the State Minister in charge of Primary Health Care, during a recent tour of Gulu District, pledged to forward the hospital’s pleas to the ministry for possible consideration although she could not give a timeline.
“I will forward your requests to the government and within the shortest time possible, hospitals will begin to buy cancer drugs,” Ms Opendi said.
The call was also echoed by heads of various regional referreal hospitals who were in Gulu District for a meeting with Ms Opendi.