Punjab rural dispensaries without medicines for 18 months

Punjab rural dispensaries without medicines for 18 months

Rural dispensaries are considered the first line of treatment for rural population. Tribune photo

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6

Rural dispensaries in the state have not received medicines for the past one and a half years. Amid the pandemic, rural medical officers (RMOs) were on Covid duties but now that Covid cases have subsided in the state, RMOs have started returning to their places of posting. Now, the major problem faced by them is there is no supply of essential medicines.

The trust that was built over the years between the rural population and doctors has been completely gone during the pandemic. Firstly, the residents accused the RMOs of leaving them alone amid Covid (RMOs were assigned Covid duties) and now, as per them, they have returned but they are not giving them medicines.

‘How can we treat patients sans medicines’

As the Covid situation has improved, we are returning to rural dispensaries but it has not solved any purpose as we are without medicines. How can we treat patients in the absence of medicines? —Dr JP Narula, state president, Rural Medical Services Association

Rural dispensaries are considered the first line of treatment for rural population.

Dr JP Narula, state president of the Rural Medical Services Association, said rural dispensaries had not received medicines since the past one-and-a-half year. The main reason being given was that RMOs are on Covid duty and not at dispensaries.

“As the Covid situation has improved, we are returning to the dispensaries but that has not solved any purpose as there are no medicines. How can we treat patients in the absence of medicines,” he said.

Dr Narula said villagers had lost trust in them. “When Covid was on its peak, residents of villages asked us to meet them as they were reluctant to go to hospitals. Now, when they come to us, we are unable to give them medicines. The bridge that was built over the years seem to be crumbling,” he said.

Another RMO working at Maachiwara said the department seems to have abandoned the dispensaries as it had 18 months since they received the medicines.

“How can we give consultation without providing medicines to patients. People in rural areas completely depend on doctors,” he said.

Bhajan Singh from Lopon village said the villagers were waiting for doctors to return.

“Now when the dispensaries have started opening, doctors are unable to give us medicines. What was the use of opening them. It is better to send the doctors back to the city on duty,” he said.

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said rural dispensaries were being shifted to the Health Department and the problem would be resolved soon.

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