Drugs Shortage Hits Dolo Town Health Center

HARBEL, Margibi – The head of the Dolo Town Clinic in Margibi’s second district has warned that the facility faces a shortage of drugs.

Macfarlane Kerkula said the situation is posing serious challenges to the operations of the medical facility. He added that since the beginning of the year, the facility has experienced a serious cut in its drug supply from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Kerkula told The Bush Chicken that the facility is unable to take care of the growing medical needs of the people of Dolo Town and the surrounding communities. The Dolo Town Health Center caters to residents of Unification Town, Dolo Town, Cotton Tree, Harbel, Peter Town, and other nearby settlements.

He added that prior to the shortage of drugs, the center was providing services to more than 3,500 patients per month. However, with the decrease in medical supplies, the center now caters to a relatively small number of patients.

Dolo Town was badly hit in 2014 by the deadly Ebola outbreak. Over 50 people died as a result of Ebola and the facility struggled to keep up. To curtail the deaths in that community, Dolo Town was quarantined following an order by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf .

The health center, which is several miles from C. H. Rennie (the only government-owned referral hospital in Margibi), does not an ambulance. Patients with serious medical complications or emergencies have to hire commercial vehicles to get to the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata.

Kerkula said that the only ambulance that was given to the center by Save the Children had to be taken to C.H. Rennie due to the breakdown of its ambulance.

Prior to the transfer of the ambulance to Kakata, family members of patients at the Dolo Town Health Center were compelled to buy gas to fuel the ambulance to take them to Kakata.

It is almost impossible for residents who do not work for Firestone to visit the nearby Du-side Hospital due to the high costs. Those admitted to the company-run hospital are charged US$25 per night.

On a local radio station few months ago, Kerkula said the facility was allocated US$10,000 in the 2016-2017 national budgets but accessing the money had been a serious challenge.

Kerkula said with these challenges, residents of Dolo Town and the surrounding communities do not see the facility as a center of hope for people coming down with illness.

“Most of the patients visiting the clinic these days are given prescriptions so that they can go to a nearby drug store to get medication,” Kerkula added.

He said those who cannot afford are leave the health facility frustrated as the health center cannot meet the growing needs of patients.

He praised Christian Aid International for providing drugs to the facility over the past five years but says such supplies are not as regular as they were in the past.

Kerkula called on well-meaning Liberians and philanthropists in the country to partner with the facility at this critical moment in helping it fulfill its commitment in meeting the health needs of Liberians in this part of the country.

Featured photo by Wikimedia

Jefferson Daryoue

Jefferson is the news director at Peace FM in Harbel. He is also a former student leader of the Margibi University Student Association at the University of Liberia.

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