Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No pharmacist?

July 11th

There seems to be a new situation in my village, which might make the last few months of my service a little tricky, and could make it very difficult indeed for the next PCV. Salim, the pharmacist at the CSPS for the past 11 years, is apparently experiencing harassment and threats because of his job. I couldn't quite get anyone to explain the nature of the threats or exactly why anyone feels the need to threaten him, but they apparently started about a week ago and have been sufficient to get him to stop coming to work and ask to be released from the position. Many people have tried to convince him to stay, including the MCD, chief, and CSPS staff, but it seems to be a no-go. To get a new pharmacist would require putting out a notice in the village, creating a committee to chose an applicant, and then sending that person to be trained – a process that would take about 6 months. In the meantime we would have to send people to the market pharmacy or to Seguenega to get any drugs or materials required, including things we normally give out for free or don't charge for, such as folic acid for pregnant women and gloves for exams. The state normally underwrites a large part of the cost of giving birth in the CSPS, bringing the price from 3,000 ($6) to 900 ($1.80), and that 900 is currently covered by an NGO in our district. But now that we aren't using state supplies, women will have to pay for everything at the pharmacy or will have to go to another CSPS.

Kerry's village also doesn't have a functioning pharmacy and the attendance dropped dramatically, hardly anyone goes there if they can help it. I'm afraid the same thing will happen here, which I suspect will lead to staff apathy, boredom, and a decline in standards of care and work ethic. It also means that I'll have less of a reason to go there. The staff was preparing themselves for some kind of anger or retaliation from patients and upset relatives who will arrive during an emergency only to be told that no drugs, bandages, or supplies are available immediately. It seems a bit unlikely and I don't think I'll get caught up in it personally, but I'm still concerned for my friends.

In random other news, it rained again this afternoon. My bike tipped over into the mud but I'm trapped by the lake standing between me and my hangar, so it's just going to have to stay tipped over.

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