Objective: to collect information on the availability of five essential
children's medicines in the public health facilities of India.
Materials and Methods: A snap shot survey of the availability of five
essential medicines for children was conducted. Five medicines which are
included in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) list for subcentres were
selected, i.e., vitamin A liquid solution, syrup cotrimoxazole, oral rehydration
salt (ORS), syrup paracetamol, and zinc sulfate (oral liquid or
tablets).Information about this survey was posted in two e-groups for
pharmacologists and pharmacists and volunteers were requested to collect data
on the availability of these five medicines and fill up a data sheet which was
emailed back to the organizers. Data was collected from February 14 to 21, 2010.
Results: Data were collected from 129 public health facilities spanning 17
states, two union territories and NCT Delhi. The overall median availability was
80% (range:0%-100%). Punjab, Tamilnadu, and Jharkhand showed 100% median
availability (range:40%-100%). Ninety percent of the facilities have ORS,
paracetamol, and contrimoxazole whereas zinc was available in only 36% of the
public health facilities. Syrup cotrimoxazole and ORS have 100% availability in
all states except in four and paracetamol has nearly 100% availability in all but
Conclusion: The availability of essential medicines for children in public
health facilities is not satisfactory and needs to be improved.