Andhra Pradesh

Procedure to obtain black fungus medicine in A.P. time consuming

A packet of Amphotericin-B injection. File   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

At a time when cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) are on the rise, lack of clarity on the procedure to obtain the vital injections and tablets required to treat the deadly infection, is proving costly.

The government placed stocks of Amphotericin-B and Posaconazole injections and tablets at stores maintained by Andhra Pradesh Medical Services and Infrastructure Development Corporation (APMSIDC). It released order number 123 detailing the procedure to obtain the injections and tablets from APMSIDC considering the short supply of drugs and to avoid blackmarketing.

The procedure involves obtaining written and manual signatures from heads of departments in hospitals, District Medical and Health Officer, District Coordinator of Health Services and finally the Joint Collector.

According to the order, the committee had to sit at a designated place so that the papers can be signed.

But the patients’ attenders found the committee members busy heading departments that require their presence 24×7 in the offices.

The Joint Collectors, too, have many functions to discharge. The relatives have, thus, had to run from pillar to post to get the medicines. In many cases, this has led to a delay in procurement of medicines.

“We have been waiting at the office of the Joint Collector to obtain the signature since 4 p.m. but we are told that the JC was away on an official programme. My brother was admitted at NRI General Hospital on June 2 and I had to buy the medicine from the central drug store at Gorantla and drive back to the hospital. It is 5 p.m. and any delay can prove costly,” said a relative of a patient.

Sensing that the procedure needs to be amended, the Principal Secretary (Health) released another instant order on June 3, amending the procedure to do away with the need to obtain physical signatures of the committee and authorising the committee members to take decisions over the phone and issue medicines.

The paperwork can be sent for approvals later. The district collectors have been requested to coordinate with the Director of Medical Education and MD of APMSIDC to put in place the necessary manpower, equipment and medicines. But the order lacked clarity on the “telephone approval”.

It is here that information technology (IT) can be used to simplify the procedure, say IT experts.

IT based applications provide the solution to avoid such procedural delays. For instance, as soon as an indent for medicine is raised by the hospital where the patient is being treated, a ticket can be generated and sent to the patient’s attender. An OTP confirms the identity and the request can be processed online by the committee members with a digital signature and sent to the APMSIDC drug stores. After the consent is obtained, the applicant gets a confirmation message and the message can be again authenticated using a system generated OTP at the drugstore, before delivering the medicines and then the ticket can be closed.

“Use of IT and mobile-based applications can ensure that the process is completed within three hours and saves precious time for the patient’s attenders,” said an IT professional.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 1:49:01 AM |

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