THT-“He gave me medicine, and when I poured it into her eyes, both of them fell out”. This is what a mother says while holding her blind daughter’s shoulder during a debate on MM TV.
Establishing a clinic is as simple as creating a shop; in addition to clinics, pharmacies sell drugs almost anywhere. Somaliland’s health-care services have been privatized, and a secure and reliable supply of medicines is critical for public health.
Drugs imported by traders are of poor quality, and the low quality of the medicines they import is not concealed. While participating in a debate, one of the drug suppliers stated on television, “People can’t afford to buy good medicines.”. A consistent, high-quality medicine supply is critical for health, but the country’s lax regulatory systems allow such traders to bring falsified and substandard medicines, resulting in poisoning, untreated disease, premature death, and treatment failure.
If you need medical attention and go to a doctor, you will be referred for a thorough examination that you may not require. The comprehensive laboratory examination that you would undergo does not imply that you would be tested for a variety of ailments, but it does imply that you would be able to generate income for the clinic’s lab unit.
The poor cannot afford medical care because if you do not pay in advance, you will never see a doctor. Even if the situation is life-threatening, you must pay in advance; otherwise, no one will help you.
Despite these issues, the quality of service and medicine is questionable. No one can guarantee the quality of the medicine or service for which you have already spent a significant sum of money.
When you pay the doctor, you also pay for the examination and other services, but they won’t leave you alone; they write the prescription in such a sloppy handwriting that no one but him can understand it. This is due to the fact that you must purchase the medication from their pharmacy and not elsewhere.
They cause massive damage, but no one holds them accountable. Those who can afford it go to hospitals in other countries. Ethiopia, India, and Turkey are a few examples. However, the poor are the ones who suffer the most.
A patient who has been given a medical prescription may look for a less expensive alternative, and the location he/she preferred for cheaper drugs than the prescriber may not understand the bad handwriting on the letter and offers the patient another medicine based on his/her best guess. This can lead to serious health issues, which are currently threatening the health of Somaliland’s populations.
Sometimes a problem is caused by an inexperienced person giving an inappropriate medicine to a patient. In some cases, the drug becomes toxic and causes serious harm to the patient.
I was outraged and perplexed when I saw on TV a mother explaining what happened to her daughter when she took her to the clinic because her child was complaining of an eye problem. “He (owner of a clinic) gave me medicine, and when I poured it into her eyes, they both fell out.” During a debate on MM TV, a mother says this while holding her blind daughter’s shoulder.
Her name is Asma, she is an orphan, and she was only five months old when the tragedy occurred. The mother went back to the man who had harmed her daughter, and he took the medicine and the prescription paper and placed it in his pocket, doing so to destroy the evidence in case she sued him.
It has been more than five years since the incident, and she is still oppressed, the little girl has never received justice, nor has the offender been held accountable.
It is beyond doubt that a similar tragedy occurs on a regular basis in the country; if the Ministry of Health had conducted research on the effects of falsified and substandard drugs, they would have discovered the number of people who were poisoned, resulting in kidney failure and drug resistance; as well as the number of pregnant women who experienced developmental delay, intellectual disability, birth defects, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Additionally, they would have clarified that low-quality medicines contain toxic doses of dangerous ingredients, resulting in widespread poisoning.
The primary responsibility for protecting its citizens’ rests with the government. It should tighten the requirements for the construction of health care facilities. Medical educational institutions, drug suppliers, health professionals, and the standard of medicine that can be imported all require licensing, it should also keep an eye on privatized health care services and hold anyone who violates it accountable. Furthermore, the government should invest in technology and devices to test the quality of drugs.