Rural Dispensaries of Punjab under attack by AAP Govt: BJP

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CHANDIGARH:Ahead of the Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab Government move to open 500 more ‘Aam Aadmi Clinics’ on January 27, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has termed the government move as “extremely detrimental” for the rural healthcare, as it would lead to closure of the rural dispensaries.

In a statement issued today, while castigating the AAP Government for the “crumbling” rural healthcare in the state, BJP National Spokesperson, Jaiveer Shergill, cited critical reports in various sections of the media, quoting orders issued by government to rationalise the medical staff, which would leave rural dispensaries without a doctor. 

Shergill said that in order to post staff at upcoming 500 ‘Aam Aadmi Clinics’, the AAP government has decided to rationalise staff at rural dispensaries run by Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Department. “This order is actually a move to shift doctors from rural dispensaries to Aam Aadmi Clinics. This would leave rural dispensaries without doctors, which would be nothing short of shutting down these dispensaries that came into existence decades back. It would mean the end of the health services in the rural areas, which would create havoc for the rural people”, he opined. 

Shergill stated that opening of 500 ‘Aam Aadmi Clinics’ is a mere PR stunt to divert attention from AAP government neglect towards Punjab healthcare. The BJP Spokesperson said that before coming to power, AAP had promised that they will ensure that rural people get good healthcare but after taking over the reins of Punjab, the rural healthcare has been utterly ignored. “Instead of spending funds to the tune of crores on new clinics, its better is to upgrade the existing rural dispensaries”, he asserted. 

Pointing out that rural healthcare in the state is “crippled”, Shergill said that despite being fully aware of this fact, the present AAP Government is not doing anything to improve the rural healthcare. He added, “It was a matter of shame that rural Subsidiary Health Centres (SHCs) are in shambles and have no medicine supply to provide the patients visiting for OPD.” 

Substantiating his claims, Shergill said, “From a long time, about 500 rural dispensaries did not have required medicine stock. In the absence of the medicines, patients are forced to buy medicines from chemist shops. What is more shocking is the fact that the Rural Medical Officers (RMOs) posted at several SHCs brought some of the medicines from their own pocket, so that the patients do not suffer for the want of medicines. However, nine months after assuming power, the AAP government had recently supplied just one month’s medicine stock, which has already exhausted, leaving the patients high and dry.” 

Shergill said that even more shameful is the fact that according to the RMOs, against 96 categories of the medicines required at the rural SHCs, the Mann government has supplied just 24 categories of medicines. “Because of lack of medicines and other facilities, the rural dispensaries are witnessing a drastic decline in patient footfall”, he added. Expressing dismay over the “nonchalant” attitude of the AAP government towards rural healthcare, Shergill said that rural dispensaries cater to more than 50 per cent of the total population of the state but unfortunately, these dispensaries have been completely “ignored” by the present government. 

While demanding immediate withdrawal of the orders to shift doctors from rural dispensaries, Shergill said that the government should ensure that all necessary medicines/equipment is provided to rural SHCs without fail.

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