Africa News Bulletin

Namibia: Pharmacies help senior citizens with chronic medication

SENIOR citizens of the Kuisebmond old-age home recently had to knock on the doors of private pharmacies for donations of diabetes and hypertension medicine.

Ten senior citizens were in danger as their medicine has not been available at state hospitals and clinics for the past three months.

Willem Eiseb, the secretary of the Walvis Bay Erongo Elderly Citizens Association, says one of the elderly citizens’ sugar level was too high last week, which resulted in him being administered an intravenous drip for a week.

“It was a really scary situation. One of the elderly citizens, Abraham Coetzee, is 74 years old and his sugar level rose dangerously. We had to take him to the clinic every morning for the week so he could be put on a drip. We asked the pharmacists at the clinic why our medicine was not arriving.

“They told us they were also clueless and the situation was the same all over the country,” Eiseb says.

But on Friday, the association members received help from the Oasis and Kuisebmond pharmacies at Kuisebmond after submitting the affected senior citizens’ health passports.

“We are really grateful towards these generous people, who did not hesitate or take long to help us. We urge other pharmacies to follow suit, because we are old and depend on that medicine.

“We could die without it. Apart from that, we are starving as we cannot eat the only normal food we can afford,” Eiseb says.

Emma Nghidindaka-Hamayulu, the owner of Kuisebmond Pharmacy, says she felt the need to help the elderly as they are vulnerable.

“This is life-saving medication, and they have been without it for quite some time. Some have been coming here to buy, but they really do not have money.

“I heard that one’s sugar level went up, and luckily he did not slip into a coma. The representative came to ask for help for one person, but we told them to bring the other critical ones too. We gave them one month’s supply each, and hope the situation would have improved by the time it is finished. If not, we will just refill their subscriptions,” she says.

Lorraine Coertzen, the owner of Oasis Pharmacy, says the elderly have been supporting her pharmacy since she opened it in 2004.

“I have known these people for nearly 25 years.They have become like my own family. I would do for them what I would do for my own mother. They supported me when they were working, and now I want to give back to them.

“Young people mostly come here for pain killers, which is not serious, but chronic medication for the elderly is serious,” she says.

Executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe on Saturday promised to investigate the matter with those in charge of the the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ central medical stores.

Original story on Namibian

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