Millions of people will be prescribed high blood pressure pills under guidelines to prevent early deaths. Picture: Pexels
Kimberley - The ripple effect of Kimberley’s recent water crisis, which essentially brought the city to a standstill, has resulted in a shortage of medicines in smaller Northern Cape towns.

It has been reported that local residents in smaller towns in the Province are experiencing a shortage of medication after staff at the Dr Arthur Letele Depot went home early due to the water crisis in Kimberley.

DA spokesperson for health, Isak Fritz, said on Tuesday that staff at the depot were apparently sent home early because of the shortage of water, resulting in the packaging and distribution of medicines to a number of small towns not being completed.

“As a result, health facilities in Loxton, Victoria West, Vosburg, Van Wyksvlei, Britstown, Wege, Carnarvon and Strydenburg have not received their monthly pre-packed medical prescriptions and stock,” Fritz said.

He added that while it was realised that the extended water crisis had created chaos with regards to hygiene issues at homes, schools and workplaces across Kimberley, the Dr Arthur Letele Depot formed a key part in the Province’s critical health services. “It is not just an administration hub,” Fritz pointed out.

“The depot knew about the planned water shutdown weeks in advance. Surely they could have anticipated the challenges that the water shutdown would pose and have planned better to ensure that all stock was packed and distributed ahead of the shutdown or alternatively arranged for water storage tanks to be in place?”

He added that the DA would report the poor management of pharmaceuticals by the Dr Arthur Letele Depot to Health MEC, Fufu Makatong.

“Officials must be held accountable for risking the lives of the Province’s sick people through a lack of foresight and planning,” Fritz said.

“People deserve to have access to life-saving medication. Patients on chronic medication should also not have their treatment schedules interrupted due to poor management on the part of the Health Department, as this can have serious adverse effects on their health.”

The Department of Health did not respond to the DA’s statement or indicate when the medicines would be delivered.