DRUG SHORT­AGE HITS UBH Pethi­dine in short sup­ply

Hospi­tal sus­pends elec­tive surgery

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Whins­ley Masara

THE United Bu­l­awayo Hos­pi­tals (UBH) has sus­pended elec­tive surgery due to a coun­try­wide short­age of pethi­dine, a po­tent painkiller used dur­ing and af­ter an op­er­a­tion.

The hospi­tal has with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, started at­tend­ing to emer­gency sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures only.

Elec­tive surgery is when a pa­tient chooses to be op­er­ated on in a mat­ter that is not life threat­en­ing to avoid pain or pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tions in fu­ture.

In a cir­cu­lar signed by UBH Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor Dr Nar­ci­sius Dz­vanga, the in­sti­tu­tion said it was fac­ing chal­lenges in ob­tain­ing Pethi­dine.

“Please be ad­vised that the hos­pi­tals are fac­ing chal­lenges in ob­tain­ing pethi­dine. This is a short­age in the coun­try and not just at United Bu­l­awayo Hos­pi­tals. As such, all elec­tive sur­gi­cal op­er­a­tions are sus­pended with ef­fect from Oc­to­ber 14 un­til fur­ther no­tice,” read the state­ment.

UBH Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Ms Nonhlanhla Ndlovu said op­er­a­tions at the in­sti­tu­tion had been vir­tu­ally paral­ysed.

“This crip­ples our per­for­mance, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult to do pro­ce­dures in the­atre be­cause af­ter per­form­ing any sur­gi­cal op­er­a­tion, a pa­tient re­quires a sup­ply of the drug to de­crease pain.

“On that note, op­er­a­tions on elec­tive cases were sus­pended with ef­fect from yes­ter­day un­til fur­ther no­tice.

“The lit­tle sup­plies we re­main with will only be re­served for emer­gency cases. Where there is room for choice, only those pa­tients on emer­gency will be op­er­ated on,” she said.

UBH is one of the coun­try’s largest re­fer­ral pub­lic hos­pi­tals and to­gether with Mpilo Cen­tral Hospi­tal, caters for peo­ple in the coun­try’s south­ern re­gion.

The south­ern re­gion com­prises Bu­l­awayo, Mid­lands, Masvingo, Mata­bele­land North and South prov­inces.

Last month, Harare Cen­tral Hospi­tal (HCC) sus­pended all sur­gi­cal op­er­a­tions due to an acute drug short­age.

The sit­u­a­tion was said to be so dire that only a few crit­i­cal de­part­ments such as ma­ter­nity, CEPOD emer­gen­cies and In­ten­sive Care Unit (ICU) re­mained op­er­a­tional while the rest of the pa­tients had to con­sult pri­vate hos­pi­tals.

Ac­cord­ing to a mem­o­ran­dum from the anaes­thet­ics de­part­men­tal head, a Dr HN Chi­famba, dated Septem­ber 16, 2016, HCC had run dry of the crit­i­cal drugs re­quired for elec­tive surg­eries among them mor­phine, pethi­dine, an­tibi­otics as well as the widely avail­able bi­car­bon­ate soda.

The let­ter was ad­dressed to all the hospi­tal’s con­sul­tants and copied to the clin­i­cal di­rec­tor, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, prin­ci­pal nurs­ing of­fi­cer, the­atre ma­tron and board chair­per­son a Dr Ndowa.

“Due to the crit­i­cal shortages of pethi­dine, in­jectable mor­phine, fen­tanyl, adren­a­line, sizes 3.0, 3.5, 4.5, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5 ETT, meto­clo­pramide, sodium bi­car­bon­ate and an­tibi­otics, it was de­cided af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor, Heads of Surgery, Ob­stet­rics and Gy­nae­col­ogy and Con­sul­tant Anaes­thet­ics that we sus­pend all elec­tive surg­eries for the time be­ing,” Dr Chi­famba wrote. — @win­nie_­masara

UBH Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor Dr Nar­ci­sius Dz­vanga

UBH Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fifi cer Ms Nonhlanhla Ndlovu

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