IMPHAL, Oct 28: District hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres, primary health sub-centres and dispensaries functioning under the Health Directorate have been starved of medicines, equipment and other articles for the past four years. The National Rural Health Mission too has stopped sending medicines to these centres for the past one year.
Talking to The Sangai Express an official from the NRHM said that earlier they used to procure medicines from Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, but the firm backed off as the amount involved was too small (About Rs 3/4 crore annually).
Following this, the State NHRM contacted another firm at Rajasthan but that too did not work out, said the official. However process is underway to contact a firm at Karnataka and this has already been approved by the Higher Tender Committee.
District hospitals, CHCs, PHCs, PHSCs and dispensaries have not been supplied the essential items needed for running such medical centres on account of certain lapses on the part of the administrative department.
A well placed source said that district hospitals, CHCs, PHCs, PHSCs and dispensaries were supplied necessary bazar items as well as medicines and equipment after procuring these items biennially through open tender. Procurement of essential items was stopped since the financial year of 2009-10.
For the financial year 2009-10, an open tender was floated for purchasing bazar items (brooms, buckets, mugs etc), medicines and equipment (surgical blades, microscope etc).
File for the tender was then submitted to Finance Department, Secretariat. It was at this stage that the whole process was brought to a grinding halt. With all district hospitals, CHCs, PHCs, PHSCs and dispensaries faced with crippling challenges because the supply chain was snapped, the Health Commissioner and the Health Director made a special arrangement in October, 2012.
As authorised, the Health Commissioner has the authority to purchase goods worth Rs one crore in a year with or without knowledge of the Finance Department, informed the source. In accordance with the open tender held earlier, the proposal sent to the Finance Department for purchasing goods was segregated for different items.
The rates (of goods) were fixed in accordance to prices prevailing in 2009. Taking due note of the variance in prices of goods between 2009 and 2012, the then Health Director asked the firms which have qualified for the tender bid if they could supply goods at the rates fixed in 2009. Out of 10 firms which qualified the tender bid, eight firms said they can supply the goods at the rates fixed in 2009.
Subsequently, the proposal was sent to the relevant Minister for approval. But the Minister did not give any approval. Thus the Health Directorate is still unable to procure essential items which should be supplied to health centres and hospitals regularly.
Barring Imphal East and Imphal West, there is a district hospital in each and very district and they are functioning under the Health Directorate. In addition, the Health Directorate is responsible for 17 CHCs, 80 PHCs, 421 PHSCs and 20 dispensaries. These hospitals and health centres have not been supplied all the items needed to keep themselves operational for the past four years.
In certain special cases, some of these health centres are supplied the essential items after the Director bought them from pharmacies and the payment is made in the form of letter of credit. Under National Rural Health Mission, these health centres are given small quantities of medicines, anti-diarrhoeal IV fluid and dressing materials. Whatever materials given under NRHM were to supplement the State Government’s supply. With the State Government not supplying any of the essential items, the health centres have literally landed in dire straits.
LAMKA, Oct 28: Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Churachandpur, Dr Paulginthang said, it would be wrong to say that the hospital does not receive supplies from the Government but maintained that the supply was minimal and not dependable.
He went on to claim that using whatever amount the hospital has collected from admission, OPD tickets and blood tests, procurement were made at the local level.
As for the nutrition (food) supply, the Hospital superintendent said the hospital has made local arrangement so as to ensure uninterrupted supply to needy patients, expenses of which were accumulated whenever the hospital receives LOC (letter of credit) comes.