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Friday 13 December 2019
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Health Minister: No shortage of TB drugs

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

MINISTER of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has rubbished claims by patients suffering from tuberculosis that there is a shortage of medicine at the nation's hospitals to treat the communicable disease.

TB is a disease caused by bacteria which normally attack the lungs. It spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Newsday spoke with two patients today – both of whom requested anonymity – as well as the minister.

The patients and Deyalsingh gave opposing accounts.

"I'm begging for help. I'm scared," one patient said. "We have no medication again this morning.

"I spoke to the doctor on call. I know it's not his or the nurses' fault. They don't have any answers as to what's going to be put in place or any idea as to when."

The TB medicine (isoniazid, Rifampin, ethambutol and pyrazinamide) is imported and supplied by the Ministry of Health and is not available to buy privately.

Patients cannot be discharged without an adequate supply of medicine, and until in-patient treatment is completed.

Newsday contacted Deyalsingh, who said: "Those reports on social media are false."

Newsday, however, did not receive its information from a social media post.

"Call Davlin Thomas (CEO) head of the NCRHA. He is dealing with the issue," said Deyalsingh.

Asked why a patient who is set to be discharged would fabricate such a claim, Deyalsingh replied: "Let me tell you what somebody did at the Mt Hope A&E two days ago. He went and lie down on the floor and had somebody photograph him to put it on social media, that we had no beds in the A&E. You know that? (They posted it) to give a bad impression."

He said Thomas will issue a statement to the media later.

Thomas was quoted on a morning talk show programme earlier today, also dismissing the claims, saying: "It may not be a fact."

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