Dr Duane Sands, Minister of Health. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday moved to temper alarm over HIV/AIDS drug shortages at facilities in New Providence reported over the weekend.
Dr Sands said levels were still critically low, but additional stock has been sourced until main supplies were restored.
“Nobody is going without their mediation who need it,” Dr Sands said yesterday.
“We are at a critically low level. We managed to get additional stock until such time as main supply is restored.
“Having made good on payment to the vendor, it’s just a matter of when we get stocks back up to par level.
“By no means do I wish to give the view that we’re happy with the level of stock but on a case by case basis what we’re doing is managing the patients.
“If someone goes to a Family Island, ordinarily we give three months supply; we can’t do that now, we give them one-month supply. So you don’t have the flexibility that you would ordinarily have or we can substitute certain medications.”
The cash-strapped public health sector has endured several major issues in recent months, namely the announcement and later delay of fee hikes at Princess Margaret Hospital’s Morgue Department after intense public push back in December; the suspension of elective surgeries at PMH due to bed shortages in January and the ongoing nurse shortage which came to a head last month after the departure of 70 nurses to more lucrative posts in the American market.
Throughout the ordeals, Dr Sands has insisted the public healthcare sector had to find ways to manage despite its limited resources.
Yesterday, he added: “I’ve taken the view, unlike in past times where everything is a secret, that people have a right to know.”