Latest — 06 June 2018 — by Courtney Menzies
Shortage of medication for mentally ill patients

CAYO DISTRICT, Mon. June 4, 2018– Back in 2015, we reported on a shortage of the medication Risperdal, which is used to treat some mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

In that article, we had said that the San Ignacio Hospital and Western Regional Hospital had been successfully resupplied after the Ministry of Health became aware of the issue through the local media outlets.

The surplus that Northern Regional Hospital had, was also used to supply facilities in Belize City and Cayo.

We had also mentioned that over 1,000 persons are suffering from mental disorders in Belize City alone. Therefore, it is extremely important that hospitals and pharmacies in the country have supplies of this medication in stock.

However, we have been informed by Triesia Green, president of the Cayo Consumer Association, that there is once again a shortage of this medication. According to Green, her attempts at getting in contact with the Ministry of Health to address the matter have been unsuccessful.

Yet, it is not just Cayo that is suffering from the shortage. Green said that Belize City is probably the only municipality in the country in which the medication in still in stock. She mentioned that she has heard that the Northern Regional Hospital also does not have the medication.

She stated that when she attempted to get her own medication, she was told to go to Mopan Clinic, but upon arriving there, she was told that they only had ten tablets in stock, instead of the usual twenty-four that she needed.

To confirm the reports of a Risperdal shortage, we called a pharmacy in San Ignacio, and the pharmacist said that they wouldn’t be getting any of that medication for two weeks. For mentally ill patients who depend on this medication, two weeks is a very long time to wait.

Green said that many mentally ill persons are dependent, or unable to get jobs, especially due to discrimination, and many of them cannot afford to buy any other alternative medication because they are expensive.

It is important for these patients to be able to receive their medication, and Green hopes that by means of media coverage, the Ministry of Health will become aware of the situation and act on it.

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Deshawn Swasey

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