It is more than evident that the government’s initiative to provide free medicines to the rural poor who cannot afford the escalating costs of medications on the market has miserably failed to deliver the goods in Ukhrul district. A case in point is the complete failure of the Free Drug Counter opened at the Ukhrul District Hospital which is supposed to be the only one of such in the whole of the district.
Although the said counter has been opened for quite sometime now, the public is yet to reap any benefits out of it since the same does not stock or give out any prescription medicines for reasons best known to themselves. So much so that the openinig of this very counter has been rendered meaningless for the general public.
We know that that in every system of working/service, temporary or occasional lapses are bound to occur and cannot be totally ruled out. But what do we say when a service regularly fails to be of use? This seems to be the case with the counter in question. Little wonder then, that they invariably fail to provide even one out of 4/5 medicines on the prescription and the same prescribed by doctors of the District Hospital too. And with none bothering to go into the whys and wherefores, this manner of functioning has woefully become the done thing rather than the exception. As it is, walking up to the counter and showing prescription has proved to be a sheer waste of time for many a visitor. Instead, one has to buy all the medicines from the Chemist thereby incurring huge expenses even as free medicines provision is officially in place. In fact, if the so called Free Drug Counter was supposed to render any service to the public, the time is almost overdue.
On the other hand, if rumours are to be believed, then there is no shortage of medicines (read available under the counter) for some people who are well connected with members of staff and that too without the necessary prescription. Considering this sorry state of affairs, isn’t it time the public sit up and raise questions as to whether the provision of free drugs is for the needy common man or for the previledged few only? Or is the Free Drug Counter only for namesake?
All in all, it is a sad reflection on the overall functioning/administration of the Ukhrul District Hospital which has been in the news for the wrong reasons all these years. On their part, the authorities would do well to get their acts together and geared towards streamlining the service of free medicines provision through the Free Drug Counter among many other things. This will go a long way in improving to some extend the strained image of the hospital as well.
Rehoboam Lester Makang,