Following the information that has been circulating in the media and social networks regarding the lack of medication for two months at the Chicuque Rural Hospital, in the southern province of Inhambane, the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS) has called the authorities of that hospital to learn more about the situation.

During the communication, the chief medical of Chicuque Rural Hospital, Micail Julaya, rebuts the information regarding the absence of paracetamol for two months, arguing that “it is not true that this hospital lacks medicine. The information on television did not come from the hospital, that was journalists’ invention.”

According to the chief medical, the hospital management “distances itself from the alleged lack of medicine. For a better understanding on the subject, one should consult the Maxixe District Services of Health, Women and Social Action, which are responsible for the management of medicines.”

“Who manages the medicines is not the heath unit that serves the patients”, Julaya stressed.

The rebuttal of the inexistence of the medication comes at a time when, according to research carried out by OCS, entitled Challenges of Policy Implementation in Times of Crisis and Minimization Strategy, the Covid-19 pandemic proved that the Mozambican government does not have an adequate contingency plan to provide quality health services in times of crisis, as the population growth, associated with high fertility and birth rates, generates increased demand for health services. (read the full research: https://www.observatoriodesaude.org/covid-19-provou-que-o-governo-nao-esta-preparado-para-lidar-com-crises/).

Notwithstanding the rebuttal, the provincial chief medical in Inhambane, João Muchanga, in a statement to various media outlets, revealed that available medicines may last for four months only, adding that “other essential medicines have run out of time because of mismanagement and incorrect storage procedures.”

“Now we are carrying out activities to improve the management of medicine. Inhambane province has enough medicines to supply 144 health units for four months”, the doctor said.  

Mistreatment VS Respect for Hospital Rules

In addition to the information regarding the lack of medicines, the OCS, through its green line, has recently received calls from some users of Chicuque’s health services, denouncing occurrence of mistreatment and slowness in care.

“I went to Chicuque Rural Hospital because my daughter was injured. I was told that the x-ray is only done from 07 until 15:30, so I should come back the next day. When I came back, I was mistreated… the professional yelled at me and ordered me to sit in a place with intense sun, but I refused”, says a user, in an anonymous condition.

“Every time I go to Chicuque Rural Hospital, I witness mistreatment and, as if that wasn’t enough, they are very slow to attend people. They even questioned me why my child fell, as if the accident was on purpose, but I said I was on duty. I noticed the professional who scolded me… other patients complained about the lack of care when changing plaster”, said the same patient.

Faced with mistreatment complaints, Micail Julaya stated that “we agree that there is bad service, but we have to understand what bad service is… there are patients who, for example, don’t understand that they have to meet a criterion to get to the urgent services.”

“I’m not saying that users are liars, what I’m saying is that sometimes there is a misperception about matters… each health unit has its habits and there are cases in which some patients get confused… when there is a noise in the information, misperception arises, although there are professionals who don’t know how to talk to patients”, the manager added.

What happens, Julaya explained, is that there are people who come to the Rural Hospital with illnesses that should be assistance at the health center.

“For example, the hospital has serious patients, and in this case the serious patient is given priority over the one who should be seen at the health center. Some people don’t understand this and say they are being misunderstood”, Julaya says.

“In cases of mistreatment, there is a box for complaints”, the manager stressed. 

According to the same source, mistreatment is relative because “there are patients who are right and there are others who, disagreeing with the health technician’s recommendations, say they are mistreated, simply because they disagree.”

The manager also revealed that “now, for example, we have a lady who had two cesarean sections. We advised her to have another cesarian section, but she says she doesn’t want one. We then advise her to sign the paper, but she refuses. This leads to a misunderstanding and, behind it, a big debate. The user is always right, but he/she should know how to respect health professionals, we should all preserve good habits.”

The Rural Hospital of Chicuque, explains the manager, receives people from other provinces, including people from Maputo and Beira, because “they know that we know how to treat people.”

“Our positioning, as the Rural Hospital of Chicuque, lies in the continuous improvement of the work, we will do what is within our reach, but we need the collaboration of the users for a good functioning of our health system.”  

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