Scores of elderly Linstead residents wait hours to access medication under lockdown

Shopping for essentials proved difficult for elderly people in Linstead, St Catherine yesterday when scores of them waited hours in long lines at local pharmacies and Drug Serv locations across the town.

Under the current lockdown measures in the parish to curtail the local spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people over the age of 65 years are required to shop for food and medication between the hours of 8:00 to 10:00 am.

However, at the Linstead Hospital, the pharmacy remained closed until minutes after the mandated cut-off time, with lines of elderly people waiting well into the afternoon.

Mavis Morris, a 60-year-old woman, told the Jamaica Observer that she had been waiting outside the hospital since 8:00 am.

“I am a diabetic and a heart patient. Mi out here from morning cyah get mi medication,” the woman complained. She went on to explain that she lives alone, and has no one to help her shop for her food items. “I’m scared to come out on the di road but is me alone live,” she said.

Checks with security personnel at the hospital gate revealed that the only person with a key to open the pharmacy was stuck in traffic, trying to get into the town. However, the facility itself, which is headquarters of the South East Regional Health Authority, was accessible to the public.

Winston Stanley, a man in his 50s suffering from “kidney problems” complained that he needed to get a blood test and X-ray done and was not allowed pass the checkpoint to get to Spanish Town Hospital where he would be examined by a private doctor.

“How are we to get to Spanish Town when the taxis can’t leave Linstead? How am I going to past the checkpoint and them a turn back people?” the man puzzled. “Nuh taxi nah run guh Spanish Town. I need to get a X-ray. I have kidney problem and I have to do a blood test too, and mi come here to fill a prescription and cyah get through,” he said.

Driving into Linstead, police checkpoints were noted at various points on the border of St Andrew on the Sligoville main road, and another at the Bog Walk Gorge intersection. Members of the JCF were seen doing temperature checks and turning back vehicles.

Back in the town at Dixon’s Drug Store, persons, including elderly folk, were seen waiting in lines well past 10:00 am. Persons there complained that there was not enough time to shop for both food and medicine as everywhere was crowded.

Collin Lowe, 57, complained that he had been waiting at the pharmacy from before 8:00 am.“Mi need fi get mi prescription today and all now mi cyah get through,” the man lamented. “This is di one day pharmacy open and it cannot work because this is one a di only pharmacy open in Linstead right now.”.



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