Medical professionals are not providing syringes for drug users - MOH

Medical professionals are not providing syringes for drug users - MOH

By Karishma Kumari
Thursday 16/05/2024
Photo : File

The recent media reports claiming that medical professionals are providing syringes to members of the public are unfounded and inaccurate.

This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, who says the Maternity and Paediatric units only provide insulin syringes and needles to insulin-dependent diabetic mothers and children who cannot afford to acquire their supply from their local pharmacies.

They say these patients are well known to their medical teams, and this is done to ensure that the diabetic patients receive the correct dose of insulin when required as too little or too much insulin can harm the patients.

However, the Ministry says recently they have been made aware of members of the public visiting health facilities with intentions to steal syringes and needles for their own use and the medical staff have been advised to report such individuals who engage in or display suspicious behaviour in these illegal activities to the police for further investigation and actions.

The Ministry says earlier this week there were allegations by members of the public that health staff at the Qarani Health Centre in Gau Island were distributing syringes and needles from the facility to community members.

They say their investigation into the incident revealed that on the day in question, the Nurse on duty risked her safety and security to ensure that a patient she was treating received the care he needed, and at the same time ensured that the accompanying youths who displayed suspicious behaviour intending to steal syringes and needles from the centre, could not access them.

The Ministry encourages people particularly in the rural communities to support the work of health staff in their respective communities and help protect health staff members who, in some stations are on their own, against threats to their safety and security.

Meanwhile, during his visits to the health facilities and communities around the country, Health Minister, Dr. Atonio Lalabalavu, stressed that health workers face many challenges at work, and leave behind family members and loved ones to serve the people in their respective communities.

The Minister says that the Ministry will not hesitate to remove health staff members from facilities where their lives are threatened, and where community leaders and members cannot ensure the safety and security of health staff serving in their communities.

He says the Ministry remains committed to ensuring the provision of quality health services from health workers to the people, towards their vision of a healthy population in Fiji.

Click here for stories on the Drugs Situation in Fiji

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