24-hours medical stores shut at night

By: Kabeer Yousuf

MUSCAT: Most of the medical stories, which are supposed to be open 24 hours as told by the Ministry of Health (MoH), close at night denying people emergency medication. This is despite the provision by MoH allowing weekly break by rotation. “I went to a pharmacy around 1am in Al Khuwair, which was expected to be open at night, to buy a medicine for my sister’s appendicitis last week. I was shocked to see it was closed with a sign reading ‘open’ but with no one inside the shop. I tried calling the number at the entrance but was out of use”, Shareef al Bakhit, a PRO with a private company told the Observer.

This reporter found that Shareef’s case is not an exception. People living in Ruwi, Walja, Al Hail and Mabellah say that medical stores close at night.

“We approve pharmacies who can open at night from time to time and give each one a week or so to serve the patients. But it is a fact that some are erring in ensuring the emergency service and they will face stricter actions if found closed. For this, we conduct regular checks and bring them to book”, a senior official at the MoH said.

The monthly ‘List of Pharmacies on Afternoon and Night duty in Muscat Governorate’ (pictured) has phone numbers and location of some 50 pharmacies in Arabic and English.

These pharmacies are asked by the MoH to display the same at their entrance to inform the public.

There are pharmacies who go by the book and remain open for emergency services at night across the governorate.

“We have two shifts — one in the morning and the second at night with a short break at afternoon”, Lyla al Kharousi, a pharmacist in Al Khuwair said.

“I take charge at 8 am after my colleague’s night shift and we never fail to offer our services during the said time.


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