K.V. Subramanya

Chickaballapur District Hospital gets only drugs worth Rs. 9 lakh a year

About two lakh patients are treated at the hospital

There is a trauma care centre for accident victims

CHICKABALLAPUR: Thousands of patients, particularly the rural poor, have been put to hardship due to acute short supply of drugs at the Chickaballapur District Hospital.

As most of the drugs are not available at the hospital throughout the year, the hapless patients have been forced to buy the prescribed medicines from private pharmacies.

While the hospital treats over two lakh patients annually, it only gets drugs worth Rs. 9 lakh from the State-owned Karnataka State Drugs Logistics and Warehousing Society.

Besides, the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare provides an annual grant of Rs. 1 lakh to the hospital for purchasing necessary drugs locally.

The quantity of medicines supplied is so little that the entire stock gets exhausted in three months, sources in the hospital told The Hindu on Monday.

For instance, the hospital has treated 2.62 lakh outpatients and 13,003 in-patients from January 2008 to January 2009.

Besides, 6,000 different surgeries were conducted at the hospital during the said period.

Although the hospital staff used their discretion and tried to provide at least some medicines to poor patients, they asked a majority of the patients to buy medicines outside, the sources said.

In view of a large number of accidents on National Highway 7 that passed through Chickaballapur and the neighbouring towns, the Government had opened a trauma centre at the hospital to care for the victims of road accidents.

However, it had not provided any financial assistance to the hospital for purchasing necessary drugs and surgical instruments for the trauma centre, the sources said.

If adequate drugs were not supplied to the hospital immediately, the situation would turn worse as there would be a big increase in the number of gastroenteritis and snakebite cases during the summer, a doctor said.

Although it had been 18 months since Chickballapur became a new district, the Government had not taken any steps to upgrade the facilities at the hospital.

The strength of medical and paramedical staff, the number of beds and other facilities at the hospital were still the same as in a taluk hospital.

The Chickballapur District Hospital was still dependent on the SNR District Hospital in Kolar for drugs and other logistics, the sources said.