Kerala's medical college hospitals face medicine, equipment shortage

Recruit more health staff, ramp up vaccination programme: Doctors urge Kerala Govt
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Thiruvananthapuram: Government medical colleges treating COVID-19 patients are facing a shortage of medicines and equipment.

Communication medical college authorities sent to senior health department officials revealed the acute shortage of medicines and equipment. Other government-run hospitals, too, are facing similar shortage of medicines.

The medical colleges in the State currently have 3,115 patients under intensive care, and 1,210 others on ventilator support. It was learned that the medical colleges do not have enough sedatives, ventilator filters, surgical caps, and 30 different tablets including vitamin C, D3, calcium and zinc required for patients in ventilator.

The Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSC), responsible for the procurement and distribution of medicines and medical equipment, has not been meeting even half of the hospitals’ requirement. The communication to the health department raised concern over the safety of health workers, forced to work without adequate protective gear.

The Medical College Hospital at Kottayam, which requires one lakh pairs of gloves a week, received only 10,000 pairs in a fortnight. The KMSC is not meeting even half the requirement of Thrissur Medical College Hospital, which does not even have glucometer strips.

The hospital diverted Rs 1.5 crore from the Hospital Development Committee Fund to feed COVID-19 patients, since the government did not allot the required fund. The situation is similar in other medical colleges also.

The Medical College Hospital at Thiruvananthapuram was forced to purchase Rs 25 lakh worth ventilator tubes and high security masks, utilizing funds earmarked for other purposes. These, however, would last only two weeks.

The Kozhikode Medical College does not have ventilator tubes. Shortage of medicines is acute in Alappuzha and Kollam medical college hospitals.

Black fungal treatment faces medicine shortage

The hospitals are also facing a shortage of medicines required to treat black fungal disease, mucormycosis.

A mucormycosis patient needs a daily dose of three grams of the medicine for five days. The medicine costs Rs 3,400 for five milligrams. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said the medicine was being procured and it would be made available free of cost.

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