The serious situation in the pharmacies of Minsa 

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism recently taught an online environmental journalism to a group of university students in Peru. This is one of the stories produced during that effort. The program was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

By Sebastián Ramírez 

Alarming shortage of products revealed in public hospital 

Is there anyone who has never been sick? 

Some of us have had a fever at least once in our lives and we had to buy products to help us cope with our illness. 

However, that is not the situation for all Peruvians who need to use products from public hospital pharmacies. 

A worker at the María Auxiliadora hospital reported the existence of a shortage of necessary elements for medications required by patients. This worker showed a document of the stock that had a quantity of zero. 

This source, who preferred to be anonymous, said that the situation is prejudicial to patients. 

This is why I was filled with courage and decided to do a report, which I associate with environmental problems. 

People will not be able to use medicines that they require to be cured. 

Therefore, many patients cannot work to develop environmental benefits for the citizenry – for example, peasants, farmers and more. 

The document lists more than 30 pharmacy products with zero quantity in stock. “It seems that it is due to a bureaucratic process,” the source commented. 

I interviewed Raúl Urquizo, the dean of the Medical Association of Peru, to ask him to tell me about the situation. He told me that it is a permanent problem. “The great lack of products occurs in all hospitals in the country. I was in the office of the Minister of Health last week and we talked about this issue, but he said that nothing can be done,” Urquizo said. 

To corroborate this information, I went to the María Auxiliadora Hospital to ask questions at the scene. 

There were no scalpel blades or feeding tubes. Doctors indicated that it is difficult to find these products. 

When I was visiting the emergency pharmacy, the patients confirmed that they have to pay to acquire products, while a Minsa representative assured me that health insurance is not necessary. 

I interviewed Enrique Urbano, the head of the pharmacy department at the Dos de Mayo Hospital, who said that each medical center handles different types of devices according to their specialties. 

“There are some hospitals that are out of supply, but what we manage is available,” he said. 

I hope that this news can help patients and that the hospitals will take responsibility. 

It is necessary to have strong and healthy citizens who can continue to take care of our environment. 

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