Basic equipment lacking in dispensaries

A report based on the monitoring of 136 dispensaries in 81 districts during January2013

ISLAMABAD, 3rd May 2013: Around three-fifths of the monitored 136 dispensaries lacked sterilizers and one-third were operating without syringe cutters says a Free and Fair Election (FAFEN) report  released on Friday.

Lack of basic equipment at dispensaries has been pointed out by FAFEN in its earlier reports but no progress has been made in this direction so far.

The report further pointed out unavailability of important medicines in the in-house pharmacies of 16 dispensaries. Of these, four were out of stock for a year or more while 12 were operating without them for less than a year.

FAFEN governance monitors who visited 136 dispensaries in 81 districts also reported low oversight by government authorities. Only 58 visits were made by government/elected officials to the monitored dispensaries, 23 of which were by EDO/Health and 32 by some other government officials. Members Provincial Assemblies (MPAs) made two visits- both of which were to dispensaries in Punjab- while one was made by some other elected representative.

Only 78 out of 136 dispensaries shared information about the sanctioned positions and posted medical staff at the health facilities. Doctors were appointed at 65% of the sanctioned positions. The occupancy rate was better for other staff; female paramedical staff 77%, sanitary workers 89%, peons/watchmen 90% and male paramedical staff 97%.

Interviews with three out-patients at each dispensary showed that patients were more satisfied with the behavior of support staff in comparison to that of doctors’; 80% for doctors as compared to 87% for support staff. Seventy one percent patients responded positively about the presence of doctors at the dispensaries while the presence of support staff was confirmed by 93% patients.

As for infrastructure of dispensaries, 30% were operating out of buildings in dilapidated conditions and 27% did not have boundary walls. Moreover, arrangement for clean drinking water was not present in 38% health facilities. Thirty nine percent dispensaries were lacking washroom facility for the patients.

During January, 848 severe cases from 116 health facilities were referred for better treatment to RHC/THQ/DHQ due to lack of facilities.