Drug shortage threatens pregnant women
| Date: 20010102
Hundreds of pregnant women in the northern parts of the Batticaloa district are threatened by the unavailability of a drug (Ecometrine) that controls bleeding during childbirth at the Valaichenai hospital. Medical officers told Mr.M. Abdul Cader, deputy minister for Health who visited the hospital Tuesday that many other essential drugs are in short supply and that the maternity ward building is dilapidated and is functioning without basic facilities.
The minister was informed that the hospital is short of drugs and staff mainly because it is under the provincial ministry of health. The central government therefore takes a very step motherly attitude in supplying the quota of drugs due for each quarter and in providing other facilities medical officers said.
The Valaichenai hospital caters to thousands of poor people in the large northern region of Batticaloa, including remote Vaakarai and Tharavai which have very limited public transport. The majority of these are compelled to buy the expensive drugs prescribed for them in the local medical shops due to the chronic shortage although they can scarcely afford the cost.
More than four hundred patients are treated at the hospital's OPD and more than twenty are admitted to the wards everyday. Valaichenai is 32 kilometers north of Batticaloa.