‘Niramaya’ launched but hospitals are not yet ready

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik might have launched the free medicine distribution scheme ‘Niramaya’ with much fanfare, but the government hospitals in the State are not yet ready to don the mantle of distributing the medicine to the needy.

This was quite apparent when Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL), the independent procurement entity which will look after the scheme, took up an impromptu and quick review of the state of the hospitals at a workshop as part of the function where the scheme was launched.

Administrative officers, pharmacists from the district headquarter hospitals from across the State were present at the day-long workshop on operationalisation of the scheme organised by OSMCL. They presented the current status of their respective institutions regarding the drug distribution centres.

Coming down heavily on the representatives of the hospitals, OSMCL managing director Roopa Mishra said, “The scheme will start from May 1 but many of the hospitals could not provide the stock of medicines they have. One hand a hospitals has 379 types of medicines in stock while another one has 76. Why is it so?”

Interestingly, the data provided by OSMCL itself reveals that the government hospital at Jharsugura has 379 types of medicines in stock while Sunepur has only 76 types. The data on stock of medicines will now be centrally managed by OSMCL so that procurement and distribution of medicine will be transparent, she said.

A few days ago, OSMCL had taken up a fact-finding drive on the number of OPDs, their situation, stock of medicines and number of computers available in these hospitals. The respective hospitals were asked to submit their requisition for computer, racks for storage of medicine, etc. The workshop revealed that the hospital authorities did not request for a computer though it was advised by OSMCL.

Taking a dig at the officials of the district hospitals and other government medical centres, Mishra clearly asked them not to give false promises. “With this scheme, we want to start a transparent work culture,” she said. The hospital authorities of Raigarh were given 48 hours to complete all the pending arrangements for this.

The chief minister also inaugurated the corporate office and central warehouse of OSMCL the same day. Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik said, “One of our major concerns is out-of-the-pocket expenditure for the medical treatments.”

He assured that to save the patients and their family from the astronomical expenses for complex diseases like cancer, thalassemia, hemophilia, medicines will now be available at all the government hospitals and medical colleges in the State.

Urging the doctors to write generic names of the medicines, Patnaik said, “Under this scheme, every prescription will be scanned, checked and audited.” Sensitisation of the field officers, who will directly coordinate with patients on a daily basis regarding generic medicines, will also be done, he added.