Shanghai residents pool medical resources

By Xu Xiaomin in Shanghai | | Updated: 2022-12-22 16:50
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Several district governments in Shanghai have been encouraging residents to share their surplus medication with neighbors in light of the temporary shortage of fever medicine in the city.

Among those who have done so is Lou Xingmei, a 75-year-old who lives in the Shihua subdistrict of Jinshan district.

On Dec 17, Lou set up a shelf stocked with various kinds of medication, including Lianhua Qingwen capsules, cough syrup and Tylenol, in her apartment building.

"All the medicine is free. We are neighbors and we have always helped each other in the past," said Lou.

"I heard one neighbor was looking for fever medication a few days ago and I happened to have some spare ones," she said. "Given that it's best we minimize contact with others during this period, I set up a shelf in the lobby so people can pick up what they need."

This act of kindness by Lou has begotten even more kindness. Although the shelf has been in the lobby for several days, the items on it has never run out as other residents have also been contributing their surplus medication and supplies like thermometers and antigen test kits.

A similar initiative has been implemented in a community in Baoshan district. Xu Ying, the Party chief of the Leye Ercun community committee, said she took just two days to set up a shared medicine stash because residents were so willing to help.

"I wasn't sure if people would be willing to share their medicines given the current circumstances, so I was really surprised when many people called to offer their supplies," said Xu.

To minimize the risk of spreading the virus, Xu and community volunteers would disinfect all donated supplies before delivering them to residents in need.

The committee has also collected the information of the 115 senior citizens living alone in the community and ensured that each of them is assigned a volunteer who can provide urgent assistance if needed.

Shanghai's community health clinics have also been doing their part to address the current shortage of medication. For example, many clinics have been splitting boxes of over-the-counter (OTC) pills into smaller packages so that more people can have access to medication.

Zhong Mingkang, the chief pharmacist from Shanghai Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, said in an interview with Xinhua that the reason behind this is that standard boxes of OTC medication often contain more pills than required for treatment.

Several clinics had on Dec 20 told Shanghai-based news portal ThePaper that the current shortage will be duly addressed in the coming days as more medication arrives. Shanghai's health authorities have also announced that fever drugs are currently being distributed to community-level clinics to guarantee residents be treated in nearby medical institutions.

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