Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

18 December 2012

Tanzania: Albino-Stigma Medic Under Fire

Photo: Talea Miller/Flickr
Goverment urged to protect rights of the disabled.

THE Rukwa Regional Commissioner, Engineer Stella Manyanya, has ordered the Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Mr Salum Chima and Regional Medical Officer (RMO) Dr John Gurisha to take stern measures against one pharmacist Ms Rhoda Kiponde who refuse to dispense medication to patients with albinism.

According to Ms Manyanya, such pharmacists must be taken to task, if possible to be transferred to other department, rather than being left to discharge her duties at Sumbawanga regional hospital pharmacy.

She has directed the two officials to submit within seven days from the day the directive was issued , a detailed report on how her directives have been implemented.

The Regional Commissioner who met with regional hospital senior staff at RMO's office said she was compelled to issue the directive after receiving a report that said the pharmacist , Ms Rhoda, who was by then on duty refused to dispense medication to Mr Sebastian Chamanenge (41) , a patient living with albinism.

Chamanenge had sustained severe injuries on his face and one of his eye was badly damaged that he could hardly see. The RC shared the shocking story in depth with staff on how the albino had been mistreated with a qualified pharmacist at the regional health facility .

" I have directed my officers to make sure that the alleged pharmacist , Ms Rhoda, is immediately removed from the pharmacy department, and if possible be transferred elsewhere", she directed.

Engineer Manyanya also wants relevant authority to verify pharmacist status in the region and their academic status, because she has been informed that, some qualified pharmacists have been denied job opportunities at the regional health facility, while the unqualified occupy the posts.

According to the RC, the patient went to the pharmacist on duty who dispensed only one medicine and requested him to buy the rest from private dispensary. Since Chamanenge had no cash, he returned to RC's office and told the RC the whole story complaining that he had no money.

He thanked good Samaritans and teachers who contributed some money which facilitated his transport fare from Laela village to Sumbawanga. " I was shocked and I communicated with one of the doctor here who advised me that it would be much better if the patient could be admitted for treatment ..... because the doctor was busy.

I told him that I will consult other doctors when I arrived at the hospital. According to Eng Manyanya, the pharmacist after sensing that she was being probed, then maintained that the prescribed drugs were out of stock but admitted that she could combined ampiciline and clococycline to get 'ampclox".

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