Health Minister needs urgent plan to address medicine shortages

Issued by Michele Clarke MP and Haseena Ismail MP –
12 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP

The DA has submitted written parliamentary questions to the Minister for Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, regarding the complete unavailability of yellow fever vaccine stock in South Africa, as well as a host of other medical supplies.

According to reports, there’s a shortage of 150 essential medications, including morphine powder (which is used as the basis for medicine used to treat severe pain in children and in palliative care), treatments for diabetes, and medication used in the treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

The Minister needs to implement an urgent plan to ensure that the shortages are addressed. While some of the medicine shortages might be attributed to Covid-19 related factors, it is certainly worrying that the situation persists.

Given the ANC government’s chronic mismanagement of the crumbling public health sector and their historic callous attitude toward the suffering of South Africans, the DA is not surprised that the calls from the health sector to remedy the situation appears to have gone unanswered.

While many patients with chronic conditions, such as HIV and TB, had to make do without their vital medications during the nearly two years of Covid-lockdowns, it is outrageous that their needs are still not addressed. The Department of Health cannot continue to use the Covid-pandemic as an excuse for ineptitude.

Given how the ANC government has run the public health care system into the ground, it is astounding that they can continue to push the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill. If the continuous supply of chronic medication cannot be guaranteed currently, an NHI future does not bode well.