29 Apr 2003

Funding problem in Fiji leads to drug shortage

4:35 pm on 29 April 2003

A report from Fiji says drug shortages have crippled the country's public health services.

The Fiji Times says hospitals and health centres are facing serious shortages of drugs and dressings because funds were diverted to relief work after Cyclone Ami which devastated parts of the country in January.

The government's chief pharmacist, Peter Zinck, says they are doing their best but cannot supply all the orders from hospitals and health centres which have their own quotas.

The newspaper says in the town of Lami, near Suva, 21-thousand residents have been told to nurse their own wounds after the first treatment because of a shortage of cotton wool.

Other health centres have also reported serious shortages with doctors expressing concern.

Suva's Colonial War Memorial Hospital is short of drugs to treat a flu like virus currently affecting large numbers of people.

And in Sigatoka, patients at the local hospital have been told to look elsewhere for drugs because its supply has run out.