Amid reports of a shortage of drugs and the necessary tools for doctors to do their job at the Queen Ellizabeth Hospital (QEH), the Barbados Cancer Society is calling on Barbadians to sponsor patients with needed medication and assistance.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning, Dr Dorothy Cooke-Johnson, president of the Barbados Cancer Society, noted that they presently spending between $60,000 to $80,000 per year on drugs through its Welfare and Client Support Services Programme.
However, she said the current situation at the QEH was negatively affecting cancer patients, given a noticeable spiral in requests for drugs, some of which were very expensive.
“We only have a certain amount of money that we can use but we are trying to spread it around.
[However], our support would not nearly meet what needs to be done,” she said.
“We are very concerned for the hospital and we know everyone in the hospital loves and [is] concerned for their patients and they want them to do well and we can only hope that we can just pull together to increase efficiency,” sheadded.
Dr Cooke-Johnson indicated that the Society continued to do as much as it could but could only manage to assist to a certain extent, sometimes only being able to supply patients with limited doses of medication.
In light of an increased demand on its resources by chemotherapy patients and people who need food and utilities, she is pleading for assistance with the sponsorship of medication for those clients who are in dire need.
“Everyone who have some funds can give to those who really need treatment or need drugs at this time. I am just pleading to everyone really.
“It is a very difficult position and I hope that we can soon find our way out of it. I hope people can pull together and assist and if pleas are made and you have some money, you can give someone some help for medication.
“There are those who are very desperate at this particular time and it is hitting very hard, particularly mothers who can’t work because they have children to look after who have cancer or they have cancer themselves. [There are] men who would like to work to support their family [but] have cancer and can’t do so,” said a concerned Dr Cooke-Johnson.
She added: “The children also need help, not only with their drugs but also with things like [diapers]. If anyone has got [diapers] to donate to the hospital or to the Society please do so because the hospital is unable to provide diapers and children who are ill and adults require diapers all the time.
“If you can send diapers to the cancer society we really know there are people who need it.”
The president also commended those clients, who own their own, sought and worked hard to source the funding and sponsorship for their own medication.