Wednesday, 19 October 2016


SEVERAL pharmacies in Bulawayo have hiked the price of the sedative pethidine drug by almost 300% following reports that the shortage of the drug had caused suspension of elective surgeries at the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH).

Southern Eye yesterday conducted a survey in the city and discovered that the drug was selling for around $61 up from $16. “This is uncalled for. How can these pharmacies do that? They are now taking advantage of the desperate people. We are calling upon relevant authorities to look into the issue,” one disgruntled patient said.

UBH on Friday announced the indefinite cancellation of elective surgical operations due to the shortage of the drug. UBH is the second major hospital in the country to suspend crucial surgeries. In September, the Harare Central Hospital temporarily suspended surgeries.

In an internal memo to surgeons and other key hospital staff last Friday, UBH clinical director, Narcaciuous Dzvanga said: “Please be advised that hospitals are facing challenges in obtaining pethidine. This is a shortage in the country not just at United Bulawayo Hospitals.

“As such, elective cases are suspended with effect from October 14, 2016 until further notice,” he said. Pethidine is a sedative drug, which equivalents morphine and is critical in the emergency department as well as post-surgery for easing pain.

Zimbabwe’s health sector hit its lowest ebb during the hyperinflationary environment of 2008.
Although the situation improved during the Government of National Unity, the sector is now showing signs of distress owing to limited funding. Newsday


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