MASERU- Ministry of Health has warned the public against buying medicine or pharmaceuticals from street vendors as this might pose a great risk to their lives. Most people prefer to buy their medicine from street vendors as it was ‘cheaper’.
The ministry says it has embarked on a programme to educate the public against this practice by visiting street vendors and members of the public at various centres around the country. Last Saturday the ministry had a seminar with stakeholders on the regulation of medicine where it became apparent that selling of street medicine was on the rise in most urban areas.
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Lesotho (PSL) Gertrude Mothibe appealed to government to strengthen the laws that regulate of medicine use in the county to protect people from buying anything they come across, as this did more harm than good to their health.
Mothibe also said it is important for the community to know their rights about medicine and where to get help, either from health professionals or even traditional healers. She however said these professionals should abide by the laws and regulations of selling or administering drugs to people.
“All kinds of medication, from those that are considered natural to those that are chemically produced in a laboratory, carry some sort of side-effect, especially street medicine as it is exposed to the sun and might even have expired,” she said.
She added that there have been conflicts between professional health workers and traditional healers, saying it was now time to make peace and collaborate on how they can work together to save people’s lives.
Mothibe said Basotho have been using traditional for a long time without any problems but now some people have commercialized the practice. Some people, she said, just sell traditional medicine without full knowledge of how it works. Giving an example of how some street medicine vendors gave ‘pitsa’ to pregnant women which resulted in her dying, she said there are many cases such of maternal death in the country.
She urged the community to be aware of such dangers and go to right places where they will be given suitable medication for their illnesses and that if they visit traditional healers first before consulting certified medical practitioners they should tell them so that they can be given the correct prescription and dosages for their illnesses.