JAIPUR: In what seems to be a feather in the cap for Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, the National Health Commission has awarded Rajasthan a commendation certificate for its “Chief Minister’s Free Medicine Scheme”.
The reason for this recognition was the easy availability of medicines at drug warehouse and medical centres throughout the state. As per Additional Chief Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, this is the third time in the row that Rajasthan has grabbed the top position beating larger states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra on an assessment of several parameters for June 2019.
He said that based upon monthly review by the central health ministry, “Rajasthan had been also been ranked in the first position in April and May this year”.
In a letter to Singh, the secretary and mission director of National Health Mission had informed that based on the data evaluated upon the central dashboard of the department, Rajasthan ranked first for the month of June as its coverage of free medicines extended up to 77.26 per cent of the state’s population.
The ministry has a Drugs and Vaccine Distribution Management System (DVDMS) whereby a central dashboard that monitors and evaluates the Free Drug Scheme Initiative (FDSI). As per the said data, the use of the DVDMS application in the state is 69.64 per cent while the proportion of online drug distribution system is 96.3 per cent and while the stock of essential drugs exists at 20.86 per cent, rate contract expiry stock accounts for barely 1.41 per cent.
The scheme which was launched by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot during his previous tenure on 2 October in 2011 has seen nearly 2.5 lakh people benefiting daily from availing medicines under the scheme. Health Minister Dr. Raghu Sharma opines that “with seventy-seven per cent medicines available at Primary Health Centres (PHC), the scheme has been a boon for poor and low-income group of citizens.”
What is heartening, as per the Health Minister, is that almost 758 different kinds of medicines are available at a district centre like Jaipur, prompting study teams from 18 states within India as well as representative of World Health Organisation (WHO) to evaluate the benefits and mechanics of the scheme. Sharma describes the “scheme “a big achievement of medical and health department of the state especially since it is a dream project of the Congress government” and hence, it also being reviewed and improved on a daily basis.
The Congress party manifesto had promised medicines for life-threatening of diseases like cancer, heart and kidney problems free of cost to its citizens. While the previous government had been distributing only 608 free medicines during its tenure, the Congress government has added another 104 types of medicines to the list, thereby raising the kitty to 712 medicines for all centres under this scheme, a record in itself in India.