SABC News - Northern Cape health runs out of Glaucoma meds:Wednesday 13 September 2017

Northern Cape health runs out of Glaucoma meds

Wednesday 13 September 2017 15:22

Neo Bodumela

Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in the eye, damaging the optic nerve.

Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in the eye, damaging the optic nerve.(REUTERS)

Health facilities in the Northern Cape have ran out of eye drops for glaucoma sufferers.

Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. It can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Patients have allegedly gone without access to the much-needed eye drops since July.

Carol de Kock fears she could eventually go blind. De Kock depends on Kimberley's government City Clinic for crucial eye drops Timolol which are used to control the pressure in her eye brought caused by Glaucoma.

Since July, De Kock has not had access to the essential medication from the clinic and has had to spend thousands of rands to buy it from private pharmacies a situation she says is unsustainable.

"If it's not available at the clinic, I go to the hospital. I go to eye specialists to help me get the medication from hospitals in the district. When the clinic doesn't have it, the department is responsible if that person goes blind because they will go blind, it's a guarantee."

Spokesperson for the Provincial Department of Health, Lebohang Majaha, says an alternative half-strength medication will be distributed to patients in the interim.

"That was supplied by the main supplier in the interim whilst we are awaiting the full strength of Timolol. That's the eye drops at this point in time. So that drug will be available as of next week, but in the interim we are ensuring that the stock that we have received of the half strength, we are making sure that we distribute it to all the relevant facilities across the province."

The Department of Health says it has implemented a stock visibility system to ensure that state pharmacies in the Northern Cape are always fully stocked.

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