Drug Procurement in Odisha State and the Post Survey Activities in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Technical Report
(2012; 29 pages)


This evaluation examines the post survey activities and outputs accrued as a result of implementing the Terms of Reference of the assignment and the impact they could have on the promotion of essential medicines and rational drug use in Odisha and Chhattisgarh and the implementation of the Better Medicines for Children Project in India.

The post-survey activity in Odisha State was to train pharmacists working in the public sector of Odisha State on drug supply chain management. A Training of trainers (ToT) was held in Cuttack in May 7-11, 2012 where thirty faculty members from the three medical colleges were trained by external experts to conduct workshops for pharmacists on this aspect. Subsequently the training of pharmacists were conducted at SCB Medical College, Cuttack (24-26 and 27-29 September 2012), MKCG Medical College, Berhampur (8-10 and 11-13 October 2012) and VSS Medical College Burla (5-7 and 8-10 November 2012). In each of these centres two workshops were held consecutively to train 40+40=80 pharmacists. A total of 240 pharmacists have been trained in Odisha. All participants appreciated the workshops and requested that all pharmacists in the state should be trained. All workshops showed an improvement in the post-test scores that were statistically significant.

The post-survey activity in Chhattisgarh was to conduct sensitization training workshops on essential medicines and rational use of drugs in different cities of the state for both public and private medical doctors. Doctors were informed about the Essential Drugs List of Chhattisgarh State and to the medicines for children listed in it. They were given copies of the WHO formulary for children and urged to use Standard Treatment Guidelines.

The drug procurement in Odisha has been stalled for four years on account of litigation which has not permitted the government to procure medicines through floating a fresh tender for drugs from 2008 till 2012. Only now (late 2012) the orders for medicines have been placed, though the supply has not yet started. In Chhattisgarh there has been no change in the drug procurement. The process that was followed in 2010 is still being followed. The Chhattisgarh Medical Services Corporation which was started on the lines of the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation for procurement of medicines in the state has not been functioning due to the various court cases over staff recruitment.

The training programme for pharmacists of Odisha was highly successful and can easily be conducted for the rest of the pharmacists of Odisha and be scaled-up for the other states of India. However, assessment of the pharmacists in the field will give the true picture of whether this training has been able to address its real objective. The above activities and outputs have contributed to the Better Medicines for Children Project in particular and essential medicines and rational drug use in these two states in particular.

Discussions during the wrap up workshop of the baseline survey on pricing and availability of essential children’s medicines in Odisha which was held at Hotel Grand Residency, Badambadi, Cuttack, on 17 January 2011, led to a recommendation that training the pharmacists working in the public health sector of Odisha State could perhaps improve medicines use in the state. It was observed that pharmacists were the healthcare workers who stayed in the peripheral areas and provided care in the absence of doctors who were not willing to serve in the rural areas of the state. As drug procurement in the state by the State Drug Management Unit (SDMU) had been blocked due to litigation regarding the technical specifications of the tender, it was apparent that a repeat survey on availability would not yield any additional information. The participants recommended that the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO) should provide technical support and funding for training pharmacists working in the public health facilities, on drug supply chain management as well as allied topics such as good dispensing practices, essential medicines (EM) concept and rational use of medicines (RUM). Subsequently, discussions were held with Dr Prasanna Kumar Das, Director of Medical Education & Training, Govt. of Odisha, Dr Kamala Kanta Das, In-charge of training, State Institute of Health & Family Welfare (SIFW), Dr Rajendra Kumar Paty, Deputy Director of the SDMU as well as other governmental officials and it was decided that a team of thirty faculty members from the three government medical colleges of Odisha State will be trained to impart training to the pharmacists. WHO-SEARO would provide the technical support and funds to conduct this training of trainers (ToT) and these trainers in turn, would subsequently train around 240 pharmacists working in the public sector, on drug supply chain management (DSCM) using the lesson plans and resource materials developed to suit the educational background, training and service requirements of the pharmacists working in the state...

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