Since 2010, medicines haven’t been supplied to rural dispensaries while the state government “goes gaga” over mohalla clinics.
Rural Development and Panchayats has approximately 550 dispensaries.
Just before the Covid outbreak in April 2020, the government dispensaries were last supplied with medicines. Two SOS supplies have been made since then, once in November 2021 with 15 or so medicines. In January, the government provided a packet of 20 drugs following criticism from the media and doctors’ associations. Unfortunately, the supply lasted barely a month. The rural dispensaries still have not received even a single tablet after nine months.
Approximately six months ago, a grant of Rs 10 crore with the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, which was meant to buy medicines for the dispensaries, went unexpended.
The adhoc system of medicine procurement is believed to be responsible for the situation. However, the department failed to develop a procurement system for medicines despite running rural dispensaries. Medicines were purchased from vendors, which were expensive. Furthermore, the quality of the product was questionable.
In 2006, the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats received 1,186 rural dispensaries from the Health Department with the aim of improving health facilities for the rural population. Currently, the majority of these have been returned to the Health Department, and around 550 remain.
Kuldeep Dhaliwal refused to take calls when I tried to contact him.