By Manas James Okony
A severe drug shortage has hit Pigi County in Jonglei State amidst a rise in the cases of water-related diseases, local officials said.
Dr. James Wien Thon, the county health director, said that they run out of life-saving drugs since April, leaving residents to fend for themselves.
“We have a very low level of health system in the county compared to other counties. There is no county hospital. We only have one PHCC and 5 PHCU, compared to 6 and 13 respectively before the war,” he explained.
Dr. James said the package received was insufficient given the large population of returnees and IDPs.
He added that the last consignment of drugs received was two months, which didn’t even take a month.
“It only contained antibiotics and paracetamols. So, as doctors we refer severe cases to Malakal (Upper Nile state) but means of transport is also a challenge,” he explained.
For his part, Pigi County Commissioner, Nyok Malual Mayik called for aid saying they are not able to respond to the rising health need of local populations.
“Health situation is dire throughout the county. We are not able to address this alone because the population is growing rapidly with returnees. There are no drugs,” the commissioner said.
He noted that the only thing the county could afford but also costly is the evacuation of severely ill patients to Malakal by boats.
“A lot of people die on the way because of distance. So, we appeal to aid agencies to fill this gap,” he lamented.
One resident, John Abiel said they sometimes rely on traditional medicines.
“As you heard, the health situation is not good. Doctors operate under tents but sometimes there are no even drugs,” he said.
Pigi is one of the nine (9) counties of Jonglei State. It is often cut off from the rest of the state by roads due to the floods.