Oversight by KMSCL results in medicine shortage in Kerala govt hospitals

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Thiruvananthapuram: The government hospitals of Kerala are undergoing an acute shortage of medicines and supplies. According to Veena George, Minister of Health, the reports on medicine deficiency are misleading. 

The state-run hospitals, to which drugs are majorly supplied by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) are the most affected. In critical conditions, these government hospitals often made medicines available with the help of external funds from local self-institutions and hospital development committees. 

On Wednesday, the KMSCL approached the drug warehouse with a list of around 40 items but obtained only 10. Many of the medicines for the treatment of Cancer are also not available. 

District-wise analysis of medicine shortage
Several hospitals of the district face a shortage of essential drugs, including insulin and those for cough. Cough medicines are extremely important as COVID-19 infections are still prevailing in the state. Karunya Pharmacy, functioning within the premises of the Medical College and selling medicines at a discounted price, has also virtually come to a standstill.

Kollam: The loss and destruction of drugs and supplies valued at crores of rupees, due to a large-scale fire at the KMSCL warehouse in Kollam in May last year, have not been adequately addressed. This incident has contributed to a shortage of medicines in the Medical College Hospital.

Alappuzha: In Alappuzha Medical College Hospital, certain drugs used for cancer treatment and skin ailments are not available for months altogether. 

Kottayam: Drugs for the treatment of cancer and nearly other 150 essential medicines are not available at the pharmacy. This shortage has additionally led to a reduction in the number of surgeries being performed. In the Kottayam General Hospital, 9 medicines, including those for blood pressure, diabetes, runny nose, and allergy are not available.

Idukki: The pharmacy at Idukki Medical College Hospital is running short of 206 drug items, including life-saving drugs and those for treating lifestyle disorders.

Palakkad: The district faces an acute shortage of fluid bags used for dialysis of kidney patients in their homes. Attappadi region has reported a scarcity of medications for sickle cell disease.

Malappuram: In Manjeri Medical College Hospital, calcium pills and paracetamol syrups are not available. 

Kozhikode: The Medical College Hospital here has a shortage of cancer drugs, gloves, and cannula.

Wayanad: Mananthavady Medical College Hospital is running short of essential drugs, including those for fever and cough.

Kannur: Antibiotics, syrups for children, calcium pills for pregnant ladies, and metformin for diabetes patients are not available at the pharmacy of Kannur Pariyaram Medical College Hospital. 

Kasaragod: Though there is no shortage of life-saving drugs reported, a scarcity of certain speciality medicines is felt in the district. Half the medicinal items for treating conditions like epilepsy and depression are not available here. Similarly, out of the 12 drug items used for treating illnesses like suffocation, allergy, and sputum filling, only eight are available now.

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