Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Official Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin alleged that there was an acute shortage of drugs in dispensaries across Telangana State. He said all dispensaries were supplied drugs in the month of February 2019 and no buffer stock is left in the dispensaries now.
Those managing the dispensaries have sent multiple reminders to the Health Department in August and then in November 2019 seeking fresh supplies. However, the State Government took no measures to supply the medicines. Drugs which are not available in dispensaries are of Anti-Hypertensives, Anti-Diabetics, Pain Killes, Antacids, Anti Cancer Drugs including Paracetamol, he alleged.
He said medicines were also not available in the ESI Hospitals which are run from the money collected from employees and employers.
Nizamuddin said that the State Government has cut funding for several schemes due to ongoing economic crisis. However, he said Telangana might be the only State in the country which has cut the funding for supply of medicines, including the life saving drugs. He said as against Rs 12 crore allocated in 2018-19 for ‘Life Saving Medicines and Disposables’, no allocation was made for 2019-20. Similarly, the budget of Rs. 18.27 crore allocated in 2018-19 was made ‘zero’ in 2019-20. Similarly, no budget was allocated for ‘Contingency Fund for PHCs and CHCs’ and ‘Epidemic Control Schemes’.
Likewise, as against Rs. 10 crore allocated for ‘Assistance to NIMS for treatment of BPL families not covered under Aarogyasri’, only Rs. 1 crore was allocated this year. Further, the budget of Rs. 4 crore for ‘Life Saving Medicines and Disposable for NIMS’ was reduced from Rs. 4 crore in 2018-19 to Rs. 1 crore in 2019-20.
He said the dispensaries and PHCs have no funds or medicines to treat the patients. Therefore, they are as good as closed, he said.
The Congress leader alleged that there was no value for human life in Telangana. “Many people died of Dengue in September/October last year. Instead of taking correctional measures, Health Minister Etala Rajender adopted a denial mode. He even claimed that there were no dengue cases and invented a new name for the disease.
Quoting figures of Directorate of General Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India under National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, he said Telangana ranked 7th in Dengue cases in 2019 (up to May). There were more than 4,500 cases of Dengue across the State since August-December and there is no doubt that Telangana must be on the top in this category.
“Not a single doctor or medical staff was held accountable for Dengue deaths. Without allocating adequate funds, State Government cannot expect the staff to work efficiently. As per RBI report, Telangana is in bottom 5 of 31 States/UTs in terms of spending on health. In the current year, budget for Health Sector was slashed by 60%,” he said.
Nizamuddin said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has recently announced that the number of Basthi Dawakanas in Hyderabad will be increased to 300. “At one side, State Govt is cutting down 100% budget for dispensaries and life saving medicines.
On the other, it is making false promises. The Health Minister has recently laid foundation stones for news blocks in OGH and Gandhi Hospital. He should also make a surprise visit to any Urban Health Centre/Dispensary to do a reality check,” he said.
The Congress leader also ridiculed Etala Rajender’s claim that Telangana was on the top in public health sector. He said as per RBI report, Telangana with an average spending of 4.1% of total budget ranks 29th among 31 States with regard to spending on Public Health.
He said Telangana was among top States in terms of having sizable number of cases of Malaria, Chikungunya, JE, Dengue and other communicable disease every year.
Nizamuddin demanded that the State Government allocate at least 10% of budget for Public Health in the forthcoming budget for 2020-21. Further, he said immediate measures should be taken to supply drugs and important disposables to all dispensaries across the State. (INN)