Patients struggle to get medication during lockdown
People whose livelihood depend on medication because of their chronic illnesses have been having a hard time collecting their medication during the lockdown.
Chronic illnesses such as Diabetes and HIV/AIDS requires patients to take medication daily, meaning a visit to the doctor, clinic or any point of collection of medication is required frequently. The lockdown has made it difficult for some patients to attend to their appointments on time.
Dumisane Cele, 46, who has been taking medication for diabetes for over 5 years through his medical aid, said he had to miss a few doctors’ appointments because he could no longer afford to pay for his medical aid.
“I lost my job beginning of the lockdown and my life was turned upside down. I can not afford to pay my bills on times. I take medication for diabetes through my medical aid and it’s quite costly if you take chronic medication through a private institution. Sometimes I would have to skip days, so my medication lasted longer and that extremely dangerous for my health but sometimes when backed in a corner, you take rational decisions. I have never been a fan of public clinics or hospitals because the service is really bad, but for now those are my only options,” said Cele.
HIV patient, Nokuthula, 28, said travelling different provinces to collect ARV medication makes her regret taking the medication in the early stages of her diagnosis.
“I was diagnosed with HIV a year and a half ago; I was still very healthy when I decided to take the ARVs. I was staying in Pretoria because of work, so that where I started collecting my medication. I could easily switch to collecting my medication here in KZN, but I fear I would have to deal with the stigma attached to HIV back home and the collection process of ARVs during the pandemic is extremely annoying,” Said Nokuthula.
She added that she wishes the government would introduce more effective and dignified ways for people to collect their ARVs, because the stigma around HIV/AIDS still exists.