Jagatsinghpur, June 30 (LocalWire): Resentment is brewing among hundreds of patients in Jagatsinghpur district as they cannot avail medicines from Niramaya outlets, which distribute medicines for free, despite the availability of the medicines in the central warehouse.
The state government had launched ‘Niramaya’ the free medicine distribution scheme, in 2015, to provide medicines through OSMC (Odisha State Medical Corporation) to poor patients.
There are two Niramaya outlets in the premises of Jagatsinghpur district hospital while the district CHCs and PHCs have one each. There is one central warehouse where different medicines are stored and then supplied to the Niramaya outlets.
While private medicine shops are always crowded, the Niramaya outlets wear a deserted look because of non-availability of several medicines.
Sources said eight percent medicines are procured from the OSMC while 20 percent medicines are procured by District Drug and Therapeutics Committee (DDTC) from different medicine companies via tenders. The medicines that are procured by OSMC and DDTC require quarantine test reports for its free distribution to patients.
For the safety of the patients, it is mandatory for the central warehouse authorities to supply medicines to Niramaya outlet only after obtaining the quarantine report.
The state government’s faulty decision to supply medicine to the warehouse without testing them, negligence of health officials to delay quarantine tests, lack of supervision for smooth disbursement of free medicines are the main causes for the non-availability of different medicines at Niramaya outlets.
A medical representative of a reputed company alleged that the delay in test reports is due to a racket involving health department officials.
Additional district medical officer (Medical), Jahar Kumar Mahant, confessed ‘quarantine test reports should be submitted within 15 to 30 days but these do not reach within the stipulated period and therefore the supply of medicines to the Niramaya outlets are affected. Out of 260 types of medicines, we have supplied 123 medicines to the outlets’.
Sarat Sahu, a patient expressed his dismay, ‘I am a poor patient and it is impossible for me to buy medicines from private shops because of its exorbitant price’. Since medicines are not available at Niramaya outlets, several patients like him are forced to purchase medicines from private shops, he added.
Other patients also alleged that they have been deprived from procuring free medicines towards their treatment of blood pressure, mental illness, diabetics, so they are forced to buy those medicines from private shops at a high cost.