In PNG, there is a national formulary of medicines and other equipment/supplies that the government supplies to hospital and health centers and aid posts throughout the country. Well, in theory. The government supplier is frequently out of this or that. Or more likely--a lot of things. Sometimes we do without. Sometimes we find other sources either in PNG or from around the world and buy what we need. We also receive a container of medicines and supplies from Nazarene Hospital Foundation about twice a year. In fact, one arrived last week (right)--the very same day that we ran out of every government supplied pain medication. The acetaminophen and ibuprofen that were on the container were just in time! Thank the Lord for His provision through this awesome ministry.
Antibiotics are probably the most critical of the medications that we occasionally run out of. These medicines kill bacteria and stop life-threatening infections including pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Sometimes we have to use a 2nd or 3rd or 10th line antibiotic because there just isn't a better choice. Bush medicine can certainly be an interesting sort of a challenge!
One commonly used high-powered antibiotic is called chloramphenicol (CMP). This antibiotic is cheap, usually available in places like PNG, and it fights most kinds of infections. CMP is the treatment of choice for pigbel, a sickness that has killed maybe a dozen kiddos at our hospital in the last year. Dr. Jim currently has five children who are admitted with this diagnosis. One of them died today. But we are running out of CMP. Thankfully I was able to locate a few vials at one of the pharmacies in town--enough to last us through the weekend. A few more are on their way from another pharmacy and will arrive next week. These vials are worth their weight in gold as they have the potential to save our precious patients. I pray that they will. And hopefully we can continue to purchase CMP until the government supplier is re-stocked.
[Just in case my medical readers are curious about what meds we are running out of, here is a partial list: ferrous sulfate (out for months), calcium; acetaminophen, ibuprofen, indocin, morphine; aminophilline (cousin of theophylline, used to treat COPD/asthma); metoclopramide IV (our only IV antiemetic); CMP IV, flucloxicillin PO and IV, metronidazole IV, augmentin, and bactrim.
The good news is that we have lots of IV fluids--this week!!!
Suppose you are wondering which antibiotics we DO have? The government provides ceftriaxone IV, penicillin IV, gentamycin IV, amoxicillin, doxycycline, azithromycin, erythromycin, tinidazole. Our donated or purchased stock includes cefuroxime IV, cefdinir, cephalexin, clarithromycin, and clindamycin. We sometimes have cipro as well. That's what we have to work with!]
"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'"
~ Acts 3:6