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Source: Guardian Newspaper

Nurses at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and the Caura Hospital are expressing concern about the lack of the critical anti-tuberculosis medication at both institutions, which they say is critical for the treatment of patients with the tuberculosis disease, more commonly known as TB.

Guardian Media was told that there is no isoniazid (INH), Rifampin (RIF) ethambutol (EMB) or pyrazinamide (PZA) at either of the institutions. These drugs must be taken by patients with the disease for six to nine months as prescribed.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said yesterday an emergency order was made and the health institutions should have received supplies by late yesterday.

He told Guardian Media that there was no shortage of the drugs, but the “back-stocks were running low.”

As a result, Deyalsingh said, “we made emergency orders and they are being cleared.”

Deyalsingh said had the Ministry not made “the emergency order we would have run out.”

Nurses said it is extremely important that people who have TB are treated and finish the course of the medicine as prescribed.

Patients who stop taking the drugs too soon can become sick again and if the drugs are not taken correctly the TB Bacteria that are still alive become resistant to the drugs and it then becomes harder and more expensive to treat.

Nurses said the problem in getting the medication began in April and there was concern that “patients will now be exposed to the wider population causing a spike in new infections.

President of the T&T Nurses Association Idi Stuart confirmed he had received complaints from nurses about the problem.

He said the issue is a serious one because under the Tuberculosis Control Act of 1980 “persons with active TB must undergo treatment by law.”

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh 4

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