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Acute shortage: No calcium tablets available at government hospitals in Punjab

Three warehouses of Punjab Health System Corporation have not got supply fro the past two months.

punjab Updated: Jan 19, 2018 12:30 IST
Amit R Joshi
Amit R Joshi
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Acute shortage,No calcium tablets,calcium tablets
Calcium intake reduces the risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) during pregnancy, especially for women with low-dietary calcium intake.(Shutterstock photo)

Non-availability of calcium tablets at government hospitals across the state has left poor pregnant women in a difficult situation. The three warehouses of the Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) have not received any supply for the past two months after a sample of calcium tablets failed.

These warehouses set up at Amritsar, Bathinda and Kharar supply essential medicines to hospitals in 22 districts in the state. There are around 150 government hospitals in Punjab, including civil hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals and primary health centres.

Calcium supplement listed in essential drug list not found at 3 warehouses which cater to 22 districts in Punjab.

Calcium intake reduces the risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) during pregnancy, especially for women with low-dietary calcium intake. State health minister Brahm Mohindra had last week announced that medicine shops will be opened at the 22 district hospitals, 41 sub-divisional hospitals and three medical colleges to provide generic medicines at affordable rates to the needy.

However, calcium tablet, enlisted in the essential drug list, is not available at district hospitals as well as primary health centres. Many district hospitals are purchasing these imperative supplement tablets on credit.

The government had set up the three regional warehouses in 2014 to stock medicines to be supplied to district hospitals on need-basis. An enquiry at these warehouses confirmed that there was no stock of calcium tablets available there.

Gurpreet Babbar, pharmacist, Kharar warehouse, said a sample (of calcium tablets) failed in the month of November 2017. “Since then we have not received any new stock.” There is no stock available at the Amritsar and Bathinda warehouses also, as per officials posted there.

Varun Roojam, MD, PHSC, said, “We have placed an order to procure calcium medicines and will receive a consignment in one week. We have asked civil surgeons to arrange calcium tablets for the time being.”

According to the Punjab government scheme, antibiotics, medicines for hypertension and diabetes, supplements for pregnant women, including calcium tablets, iron folic acid and consumables like syringes are to be provided to patients in all government hospitals for free. Calcium and iron folic acid tablets are imperative for pregnant women as these help in tackling deficiency among them.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 12:29 IST