Patients suffer as drug shortage hits SKIMS; Medical Superintendent says crisis ‘will be over in three days’

Hirra Azmat
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Srinagar: Rubeena (name changed) had to return disappointed from the SKIMS pharmacy as she couldn’t get an injection for her husband who is suffering from jaundice. This was the third time she has returned empty-handed.

“I don’t know what to do,” a distressed wife said, as she single-handedly attend to her husband in the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, hospital, (SKIMS) Soura.

Rubeena’s predicament is shared by hundreds of patients and their relatives in the major tertiary care hospital in the wake of shortage of life-saving drugs for the last several weeks.

Established in 1982, Kashmir health care is largely dependent on SKIMS where thousands of people visit daily for treatment.

However, the supply of life-saving drugs at the premier health institute is disrupted at present. So much so that people have to purchase syringes and drip sets from the market.

Moreover, the essential drugs unavailable at the hospital include Pantop, PCM, Tramadol and Potassium Chlorides, and Diazepam.

“My 65-year -old father had to wait for an hour to get a metrogyl injection.  The doctors provided him with primary treatment. But, due to the shortage of some medicines, and syringes, I had to fetch everything from the market,” another attendant said, wishing not to be named.

An official at SKIMS acknowledged that there has been a drug crisis at the hospital.

“Unfortunately, this should not be the situation at the main tertiary care of the valley. It is causing huge inconvenience to the patients for the last several weeks and putting their lives at risk,” he said.

Medical Superintendent at SKIMS Dr. Farooq Jan told The Kashmir Monitor that the crisis will be resolved within some days.

“The rate contracts had expired. On top of it, a new purchase sub-committee was formulated. The tendering process was taking time which led to the drug shortage. Now we have accelerated the tendering and placed some orders at Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited. Also, we have extended the rate contracts up to December 31,” Jan said.

He noted that they have issued orders for most of the items and all the supplies will be procured within some days.

In the last week of June, Dr. A G Ahangar was given a six-month extension whose five-year term as Director SKIMS ended on June 25. After his extension, a purchasing committee was formed to procure the drugs and equipment.

“The committee has failed to procure drugs and some medical equipment for the last few weeks resulting in a huge shortage of drugs. Since his extension, Director’s hands seem to be tied. He is not able to make any decisions. This has badly hit the functioning of the hospital, especially the patient care,” the official said, wishing not to be named.

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When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.
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