Until recently, local health instit utionsdo notprovide service on specific advanced toxicology treatment. Since a year ago, however St. Peter’s Specialized Hospital launched the treatment in dialysis, vaccination and guidance. Currently it is working with stakeholders to implement advanced toxicology treatment, Hospital CEO YakobSemane told.
The hospitalalso opened Toxicology Research Center which is theonly toxicology management institution in the horn of Africa. Therefore, it would serve as a training center for poison treatment health professionals in the region.According to Yakob, the hospital is working with Ethiotelecom to establish Poison Information Center for phone medication or provide a first aid advice forpoisoned-patientson their way to health institution.
The hospital has also plan to offer poison management orientation for employees of chemical factorieswhere the bulk of chemical poisoning comes from. This would help to protect the problem from the beginning. On the other hand the guidance and counseling activity would help to prevent poisoning and to reduce its impact on health through sensitizing patients and families how to handle it.
The effort is to become the continental mentionable toxicology treatment health institution. Therefore the hospital is working in collaboration with Public Health England Chemicals and Poison Management Department to design and implement advanced action plan about the overall toxicology services of the center, said the CEO.
However, although the hospital is striving to advance its services through modernizing its treatment and installing latest technologies, it still has setbacks related to shortage of antidotes that help to cure poisoned patients. According to Yakob, the hospital has been treating patients suffering from food poison, pesticides, factory chemicals and animal attack among others. However, it faces lack of antidotes for those infected by various chemicals including aluminum, lead and strong metals.
Responding to Yakob’s claim, Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency Director General Dr. Loko Abraham said that the shortage of antidote supply is caused by expensiveness of the drugs. People could be poisoned with various causes. “Antidotes for people poisoned by karbamate, organophosphate and bleaches are currently supplied by the agency through selective proceedings up on the capacity and need of the country.”
The major shortageemanates from the strangeness of advanced toxicology treatment in the country. And it was only given as additional treatment in various hospitals but now the hospital is giving the treatment in an advanced manner. Therefore, the hospital ought to have a close contact with the agency and present its need to the agency.
In the other way, the country has been importing medicines that were used and wasted improperly. That’s why the agency took action to import and supply specific types and amount of medicines for proper implementation of the country’s resource. It is important to work closelywith the hospital giving the service to provide the needed amount of medical facility.
Activated charcoal medicine is basically given to the health institutions. In the future, we need to expand the service across the country. Currently, the agency is improving its contact with hospitals and is striving to scale it up to a better level. It has also prepared a guideline to measure the availability, validity and list of medicines that would ease communication between health institutions and the agency.
Today, there are more than 15,000 types of drugs across the world. However, it is challenging to import all medicines compared to the capacity and the need of the country. Therefore, the agency is working to import and supply medicines that have a wide demand and necessity. The agency also planned to import only 1,373 types of medicines. The supply also considered to reduce ebb and flow of pharmaceuticals supply and reach life saving medicine availability 95 percent nationwide.
The agency also identified 98 types of vital medicine types and other pharmaceuticals to be imported among other medical facilities. Here comes the antidote as of lifesaving medicine. Even though, they are expensive the agency is yet importing them considering their vitality to save the lives of many people that could be easily vulnerable to poisoning.
According to the Director General, the agency has established a directorate entitled to solve shortage of medicine through conducting research and recommending possible measures. Efforts are also underway to curb the artificial shortage induced by the hoarding of some health institutions who intend to profiteer later. The agency has also signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society for proper distribution of medical facility.
To this end a new communication system has become operational to strengthen the communication between the agency, health institutions and users. This could be realized through modern commodities management information system which helps the end user to get updated information via cell phone.
The shortage of lifesaving medicine is a very critical problem besetting the efforts to improve health service delivery across the country. Especially, it is embarrassing for the sector to fail locally treatable diseases only due to shortage of supplies. Therefore, the agency together with hospitals and other partners needs to improve the service delivery to redeem people from suffering due to poisoning.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH