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Polokwane - After reports of shortages of essential medicines in clinics across Limpopo province, provincial Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has blamed the new system which is being implemented by the National Treasury and National Department of Health to improve efficiency as the cause of the shortages.

The new system, which was introduced in July, is internet-based and according to provincial officials is making the process of capturing medicines slow, resulting in drugs not reaching the clinics in time.

During a recent visit to the provincial pharmaceutical depot, Ramathuba criticised the new system. “The issues of budgets have been resolved; we have stocks but the new system makes it a serious challenge to get the medicine from here [the depot] to the clinics. This is a disaster and all our pharmacists will camp here this week to make sure that our clinics receive their medicines,” said Ramathuba.

Clinics in Vhembe district have experienced shortages for months, resulting in patients being sent home without being treated. 

Ramathuba lamented that the system is simply not working and they will have to engage the national department. “We cannot be used as guinea pigs to test a system that has not been proven to work. We cannot be experimenting while our people suffer without medicines. Our elderly people are waiting in their clinics and we cannot delay them,” she said.

Thabiso Teffo, the MEC’s spokesperson, said that since July there has been an increase in reports of clinics experiencing shortages of medicines in the province. 

ANA-Health-e News