JAGATSINGHPUR: Poor patients of the district have been deprived of the benefits of free drug distribution scheme ‘Niramaya’, thanks to the apathy of health officials.
The Niramaya outlets at District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) and most of the community health centres (CHCs) and primary health centres (PHCs) are providing free drugs to only a handful of beneficiaries. While private medicine shops are always crowded, the Niramaya outlets can be seen wearing a deserted look most of the days.
There are two Niramaya outlets on the premises of DHH while CHCs and PHCs have one each. Though the Health Department has strictly instructed doctors to only prescribe medicines that are available in Niramaya outlets, patients are being forced to buy medicines from outside. Doctors have a tacit understanding with private medicine stores. Lured by the commission, they are prescribing costly medicines that are only available at particular private medicine stores, the locals alleged.
While all drugs for expectant mothers and newborn are available at the DHH, patients are being forced to purchase medicines from outside. Many doctors have allegedly convinced patients that the medicines available at Niramaya outlets are of poor quality and not capable of curing their diseases, sources said.As per provision, procurement and distribution process of the free medicines should be made online. However, it has been found that many CHCs are not following the norm.
On Wednesday, Collector Yamini Sarangi visited Balikuda CHC and found several irregularities in distribution of free medicines. It was found that Niramaya scheme was being executed by the CHC manually. Sarangi has asked the medical officer to give an explanation for not adhering to the norm. Earlier, the Collector had expressed dissatisfaction over less number of patients getting benefited from Niramaya and sought a report from the authorities of DHH and Paradip CHC in this regard.
Chief District Medical Officer Sarat Kumar Sahoo said delay in repairing the computers, lack of knowledge to operate the systems and negligence of health officials are the reasons for not executing Niramaya online. Efforts are on to provide improved service to patients, he added.