The excess spending of funds on purchase of medicines under Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), a national health programme, by five districts has come under the scanner of the health department.
These districts are Jalandhar, Muktsar, Sangrur, Kapurthala and Patiala.
A high-powered committee formed by the National Health Mission (NHM) in the first week of February is conducting a probe into the matter and scanning the related records.
The panel is carrying out a physical inspection of documents concerning the purchase of medicines at the local level by chief medical officers (CMOs).
Under the JJSK programme, CMOs are authorised to purchase medicines and other items required for pregnant women and new mothers, if the stock dispatched by the department falls short.
State health secretary and NHM director Hussan Lal told HT that it has come to light that these five districts have been purchasing medicines in excess. “We are verifying the details whether the purchases were genuine or not. If any irregularities are found during the probe, action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
Lal added that CMOs are authorised to buy up to 15% stock of medicines at the local level and there is no bar on the expenditure amount, but it should be justified.
“Under the JSSK programme, the department has to ensure totally free health services to all beneficiaries,” he pointed out.
Director, family welfare, Dr Dharampal told HT that the matter was highlighted in a conference of civil surgeons and the NHM panel is inspecting the records in these five districts.
Sources said the conference was held on January 12, which was attended by the NHM director, special secretary Vikas Garg, health services director Dr Harinder Pal Singh Bali, family welfare director Dr Dharampal, ESI Director Dr Gulshan Rai, ayurvedic department director Dr Rakesh Kumar, among others. Additional chief secretary, health and family welfare, Dr Vini Mahajan had presided over the meeting.
District health society member Surinder Saini said after completing the probe, higher authorities should take strong action against the erring officers. He claimed the benefits of the national programme do not reach all beneficiaries due to some “black sheep” in the department.
As per the guidelines of JSSK, pregnant women are entitled to free transport, food, medicines, check-ups and other facilities and it is mandatory for all government hospitals and local health centres to create awareness about the scheme by installing flex boards, posters, and pamphlets, both inside and outside their premises.