Pradeep Pattanayak

Over 2700 TB patients in Odisha’s Balasore district are allegedly forced to stop medication with the required medicines not available in hospitals including the district headquarters hospital (DHH). 

At a time when the state government has set a target to make Odisha a TB-free state by 2025, the situation in Balasore puts a question mark on the accomplishment of the target. 

As per reports, prescribed medicines for TB are not available regularly at hospitals across the district, leaving TB patients at the receiving end. These days, patients returning empty-handed from the DHH is a common scene. 

“I first went to Nilagiri hospital. There they asked us to go to Balasore DHH. Here, they gave us six strips of medicines, saying there was a shortage of medicines. In such cases, how the treatment of my patient will continue,” said Bapun Singh, a patient’s relative. 

“After I got a ticket from Khaira Hospital, I received medicines for three months. Then I didn’t get medicines for 12 days. And now I have been without medicines for 19 days. When I reached Balasore DHH today, I was told the doctor had gone to Rebena to attend a meeting. So I am returning back,” said Karunakar, a TB patient from Khaira. 

When asked, District Public Health Officer Dr Mrutyunjay Mishra admitted that there is a shortage of TB medicine. “Since February, there has been a short supply of medicine. As a result, some patients didn’t get medicines in March. The government has allowed us to procure medicines from outside through a tender. A Uttarakhand-based medicine company has signed a contract to supply medicine. So the problem would be resolved soon,” said Dr Mishra.