Project Ecuador

Project Ecuador
Giving Hope and a Future

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A Supply Problem

I was puzzled when I went to the supermarket a couple of months ago and found the shelves bare.  Some products, such as washing powder, only had one or two brands available, instead of the usual ten.  Other products such as soya cooking oil or liquid for sterilising fruit and vegetables, had disappeared altogether.  Aromatic Colombian coffee and mouthwatering European chocolates were prohibitively expensive.    

It was an inconvenience, but not the end of the world.  I had to buy sunflower oil instead, and am scrubbing the fruit well in plain old water in my attempt to avoid eating worm eggs.    

It turns out it is a result of the new government policy that all products have to be made in Ecuador.  The aim is to help the economy.  The problem is imports have been made all but impossible through red tape before Ecuadorean replacement products are being produced. 

More worryingly the same has happened with medicine.  For several months there was no low dose aspirin available.  This is a cheap, effective drug for reducing stroke and heart disease and maintaining the circulation an preventing gangrene in the feet of my diabetic patients for example.  Thankfully this now appears to be being produced in Ecuador.  My arthritis patients are not faring so well, as the supply of cheap and easily monitored methotrexate has also dried up and no alternatives are available.  Likewise a cheap, effective drug for nerve pain, also common in diabetic patients, has vanished from pharmacies here.  Alternatives are outside the budget of my patients.

I hope essential medicine supply is made a priority.  

Patient with Arthritis

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