Patients seeking urgent treatment for pneumonia are sent back home or to the nearby private clinics due to lack of medication at Marial Lou health facility in Tonj North County, Warrap state.
The public healthcare centre does not have antibiotics. Nurses say this is hindering the effective treatment of the patients – mostly children – who are suffering from the disease.
A medical officer said the facility receives thirty-eight pneumonia cases on daily basis.
It has currently admitted 20 patients with severe cases – mostly children from zero to five years.
“Twenty children are admitted daily. Many children are brought with problem and this increased case of pneumonia patients. One child passed away this month,” said Philip Malook Gueny, the in charge of Marial Lou health facility.
The cases are said to be rampant in the cattle camps.
The hospital is only able to admit patients with severe cases while those with moderate infections are sent home.
Malook called on the Ministry of Health in Warrap State to support the facility with antibiotics.
“We don’t have drugs for patients, we just send parents outside the clinic to buy the medicines in private clinics,” he stated.
Pneumonia is an infection of the air sacs in one or both lungs characterized by severe cough with mucus, fever, chills, and difficulty in breathing.
Its symptoms include Chest pain when breathing or coughing, shortness of breath, cough, fever, and others.
Two weeks ago, Malook said the cases are on the increase due to torrential rains and floods that has exposed children to the cold.
“The children sleep outside and when it rains the weather become cold and this increases pneumonia among children,” he stated.
Deng Awan Deng who is the Director of Primary Healthcare confirmed that they are aware of the shortage of drugs in the facility and has promised to discuss the matter with the state government.
According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics. Most cases of pneumonia require oral antibiotics, which are often prescribed at a health centre.
It said preventing pneumonia in children is an essential component of a strategy to reduce child mortality. Immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough (pertussis) is the most effective way to prevent pneumonia.
WHO adds that adequate nutrition is key to improving children’s natural defences, starting with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.