State robs Peter to pay Paul

Anaemia drug fund for poor women used to buy prophylactics for them
Last Updated 06 July 2010, 18:46 IST

The State Department of Health has been concerned over the acute shortage of contraceptives since April. According to officials, for the last year and half, the State has been getting from the Union Ministry of health less than its share of family welfare supplies - condoms, oral pills, tubal rings and Intra uterine device (IUDs).

“We were not able to achieve the State target of contraception as we did not get adequate supplies from the Centre,” said an officer of the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) section, NRHM.

Unable to meet target

Karnataka was given the target of performing over three lakh IUDs (Copper T) insertions, distributing 7.5 lakh oral pills (Mala N), three crore condoms and two lakh tubal rings, last year. However, it received only a fraction of those numbers.

“We received only 1.76 lakh IUDs, two lakh oral pills, 100 lakh condoms and 60,000 tubal rings,” the official said. The various contraceptive methods are provided free of cost by the Centre to be distributed among people without any charge.

The current year's target is fixed at three crore condoms, three lakh IUD, three lakh tubal rings and 12 lakh oral pills. However, the Centre has not dispatched  a single item. With hospitals unable to meet the demand from women, the Government invited tenders for supply of 30,000 tubal rings and quotation for 2,000 tubal rings within three months.

The State spends around Rs 34 per tubal ring, while the Centre gets them for about Rs nine each. An officer explained the vast price difference to the Cenre buying in bulk.  
 "There is a huge shortage of prophylactics. While we have adequate stock of emergency contraceptives, supply of other items from the Centre was a fraction of what we required. Hence, we had to issue a tender for tubal rings," said Dr M R Mohanraju, programme director, RCH, NRHM.

He added if the Centre did not supply the contraceptive items in another fortnight, he would be forced buy again using the corpus fund.

(Published 06 July 2010, 18:41 IST)

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