Of every 10 patients treated at the city’s public hospital, 4 have to purchase medicines and supplies on their own.
The shortage of medical supplies and medicines at the San Vicente de Paul hospital, in the city of Ibarraprovince of Imbaburaborder the 40%according to the Ministry of Public Health (MSP).
In this medical center, considered the main not only of Ibarra but of the entire province from Imbabura, also feel the lack of medication to alleviate the discomfort of patients, as in other health houses of the national public network.
Neglected catastrophic diseases
The users of hospital services, mostly with catastrophic illnesses, since 2021 they have been denouncing that they practically have to beg for their medication, which can represent a chance to live or die.
Among their testimonies, they have mentioned that the delay of their treatmentsin certain cases, has exceeded six months, so not having the right drugs, they have had to resort to other types of therapies.
Amparo Escoba has leukemia and in the despair Due to having the medicines for his treatment, he has had to organize, along with family members and other patients, to set up sit-ins outside the hospital and demand medicine.
CEach case is different and not all need the same supplies; their diseases progress and there is no other way to stop them, they have even had to pay the costs of their treatments, some of which exceed $10,000 per month.
They supply little by little
From the MSP they reported that the supply of medicines is gradually increasing with the allocated 2022 budget, which is around $17 million annually, Therefore, several public contracting processes are in the initial phase of acquisition, others are in an advanced phase, and in other cases supplies are already arriving at the health center.
They added that from the end of December 2021, until the beginning of February 2022, three batches of drugs, which are part of a $19.7 million contract acquired by the MSP through a special regime, to try to supply the shortage on a national scale.
“In zone 1, corresponding to Carchi, Imbabura, Sucumbíos and Esmeraldas, about 586,000 units arrived and were distributed in 4 general hospitals, 12 basic hospitals and 265 first level care units. These will be used for catastrophic, chronic non-communicable diseases and other pathologies”, they detailed.
In the particular case of the general hospital in Ibarra, they affirmed that in the remainder of February they expect to receive hundreds of medical supplies and medicines that are needed to reach a 70% supply, while in March they hope to reach 80%.
Meanwhile, they asked the public to take into account that they are gradually stocking up, trying to reduce the amount of things they have to buy externally for their treatments.
Infrastructure problems and corruption
Within the last year, the San Vicente de Paúl hospital has been protagonist of more than one inconvenience.
In july 2021the problems in this health home were verified by the Vice President Alfredo Borrero, after a surprise visit, where it was revealed infrastructural and organizational drawbacks.
“There are hospitals that lack many things, even more than the others, such as San Vicente de Paúl. Fundamentally have problems in the laundry, operating rooms, health network, hydro-sanitary network, where I think we should look for an immediate and urgent solution”, said Borrero, at that time.
Among his offers, after the visit, he mentioned starting a urgent program that addresses the provision of medicines, equipment and suppliesas well as a process of rehabilitation of hospitals on a national scale, but to date these solutions have not been fully solved.
Two months after the Vice President’s visit, a new problem came to light, when two hospital officials were arrested andn September 2021accused of dispose of medicines and supplies to sell them in private pharmacies.
El MSP trabaja en un modelo de externalización de farmacias, para entregar las medicinas de forma gratuita a pacientes con enfermedades crónicas, que se prevé iniciar en marzo de 2022.