Mysore/Mysuru: The issue of shortage of drugs in Government Hospitals, including Primary Health Centres (PHCs), at a time when the deadly COVID pandemic is on a rampage in the district, reverberated at the District Minister S.T. Somashekar’s meeting with people representatives at ZP hall here yesterday.
Soon as the meeting commenced, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr. T. Amarnath attributed the delay in drug delivery to COVID crisis. Maintaining that all Government Hospitals, including PHCs, are being supplied drugs dispatched by Karnataka State Drugs Logistics and Warehousing Society (KDLWS), he said that due to shortage of drugs, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) had permitted purchase of COVID medicines under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), following which medicines worth Rs. 25 lakh has been purchased.
Continuing, Dr. Amarnath said that medicines have been distributed to taluks based on indent. Noting that due to shortage of drugs last week, Legislators in some taluks had purchased medicines out of their own funds and support from donors and distributed them among PHCs, he said that, now, the medicines purchased out of SDRF funds will be supplied to all Government Hospitals.
Varuna MLA Dr. Yathindra Siddharamaiah wanted to know till how long the medicines purchased now will last. The DHO replied that the medicine stocks will last at least for a fortnight.
Chamundeshwari MLA G.T. Devegowda wanted to know medicine demand and supply data in respect of every Assembly segment of the district. Dr. Amarnath said that medicines have been purchased at a cost of Rs. 25 lakh and about 150 Government Hospitals in the district are being delivered drugs based on demand. The DHO further said that Distributors are delivering medicines in phases as they are also running short of stocks.
Devegowda further said that he has not appealed the DC to visit COVID Care Centres (CCCs) in his constituency for an inspection as he thought it was unnecessary. Measures have been taken to sanitise CCCs three times a day, he said and added that the Tahsildar and THO are managing the centres in his constituency.
K.R. Nagar MLA S.R. Mahesh said that he was very much unhappy about the alleged construction of a swimming pool in the DC’s residential quarters at a time when there was dearth of funds for purchase of drugs. Wanting the DC to be a role model for everyone with her work, he strongly objected to the DC’s style of functioning. He also took exception to the DC holding regular virtual meetings with the authorities as they were of little help. He wanted the District Administration to do more field works rather than wasting time on meetings.
MLA Dr. Yathindra and MP Pratap Simha questioned on whether the drugs available now are sufficient to meet demands, to which the DHO said that the State Government will provide medicines before the current stocks last.
Pratap Simha also wanted to know whether the District Administration was reimbursing funds to Legislators who are purchasing medicines out of their own money.
KR MLA S.A. Ramdas, who intervened, cautioned the DHO against giving wrong information. Asserting that he has received inputs about the availability of different types of medicines at KDLWS, Ramdas said that there was hardly 155 vitamin tablets as against the demand of 1 lakh.
Similar is the case in respect of other drugs, as there is stock of only 516 Paracetamol tablets as against the demand of 2 lakh and 27 out of the 47 types of COVID drugs were not available at all. Pointing out that this stock position was on May 13, he bemoaned that the existing stocks of medicines had dwindled further since then as on Thursday last.
Ramdas also displayed a letter written by the DHO mentioning that though the Government on May 22 has permitted the District Administration to purchase drugs without calling tenders, the District Administration is yet to issue an order on purchase of medicines. The MLA also wanted to know what the DHO was doing even after the Finance Department had released money.
MP Pratap Simha took the DHO to task for the mess concerning supply of medicines.
MLC A.H. Vishwanath said that there was no point in questioning the DHO and it is the DC who should answer. He also suggested appropriate usage of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) for tackling COVID.
Chamaraja MLA L. Nagendra, Hunsur MLA H.P. Manjunath, H.D. Kote MLA Anil Chikkamadu, MLC R. Dharmasena and others were present during the meeting.