There is a shortfall of ferrous sulphate in public hospitals in Limpopo. It is used as a pre-labour treatment measure so that haemorrhaging (excessive bleeding) isn’t as fatal to women during childbirth.
Patients in Limpopo are being advised to buy their own haemorrhage medication because the department of health in the province doesn’t have it in stock.
According to the doctor who works at a public health facility, they have been without ferrous sulphate since March. He said that the shortage most affects patients in the maternity ward as it poses a risk to their lives.
“There isn’t haemorrhage medication in Thabazimbi Hospital and affiliated clinics. The pharmaceutical depot also doesn’t have it available,” said the doctor.
“Women who are in labour are at risk due to excessive bleeding. If you take ferrous sulphate, then the blood count increases to levels that will not affect you much should you bleed during labour. So if you don’t take it, your blood count would be low and should you bleed during labour, complications [could result].”
The doctor added that haemorrhaging during childbirth is the second most common reason that women die during labour. “Patient sometimes bleed to death.”
Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana admitted there isn’t ferrous sulphate in the provincial healthcare facilities.
“It’s true that we do not have ferrous sulphate in our facilities and it is because of the suppliers, they are failing to supply us with the medication. However, we are using a substitute, Pregamal, which does the same work as ferrous sulphate,” he said.
Shikwambana advised that patients the substitute pill is as effective. “Patients should not panic, it might not be the usual one that we use every day but it is also effective.”
However, the doctor who spoke to Health–e News said the substitute also isn’t available. –Health–e News
An edited version of this story was published by Health24.