Health News of 2014-08-27

Drug shortage hits Accra Psychiatric Hospital

Shortage of drugs used for the treatment of psychiatric and psychotic illnesses is hampering the efforts of medical personnel to treat cases related to mental health, the resident doctor in charge of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Kojo Obeng, has said.

He said drugs released to the hospital for the treatment of patients were not sufficient to meet its needs, adding that appeals to the government to address the issue had not been heeded.

The situation, he said, resulted in a strike action about a month ago which crippled the operations of the hospital.

He explained that last month, nurses and other health workers of the hospitals refused to work until the necessary drugs were made available.

Dr Obeng said owing to the irregular supply, the hospital had been compelled to procure drugs from other sources.

As a result, he said patients were made to pay token fees for drugs administered to them.

He added that medical personnel had also been compelled to ration the drugs; a situation which had deprived patients of the right doses.

Dr Obeng said patients relied extensively on the medication provided and as such there was the need for uninterrupted supply.

According to him, medication for the treatment of psychiatric ailments was supposed to be dispensed free of charge but owing to the situation the hospital faced, management had no choice but to demand payment from patients.

Dr Obeng said currently, Olanzapin, a drug used for the treatment of psychotic illnesses and the calming of mental patients, was unavailable.

He said there was a possibility of relapse once supply was stopped or when patients were not given the right doses of the medicines. Fear of attacks

He added that although there were hardly cases of patients attacking staff of the hospital, effective measures had been put in place to deal with any such occurrences in view of the current situation.

Dr Obeng indicated that isolation rooms had been prepared to hold patients who became violent as a result of the reduced doses of drugs.

“It has been quite difficult to treat these patients for some time now without the drugs. If the supply of drugs is regular and given in the right doses, this will make taking care of them very easy.

“On the contrary, it is limited and this is causing problems for the hospital,” he added.

Dr Obeng said a thorough check was conducted on patients to know the actual condition of a patient before medicine was administered owing to the fact that not all cases of mental disorder responded to the same medicine.

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