Pregnant women, children, and senior citizens visit these clinics every day for health care services
Patients of all ages are being deprived of necessary medicine supplies due to the shortfall in stocks at 37 community clinics in Kashiani upazila of Gopalganj.
Regular patients from poor villages in the upazila say the community clinics are a blessing for them, as they are able to provide free medicines of up to 27 categories.
But during the last weeks of every trimester, shortfall in medicine-supply is common, which brings sufferings for the patients.
According to sources in Gopalganj Civil Surgeon Office, the community clinics have been providing free primary health care and medicines to the patients of 14 unions in the upazila for almost 7 years.
Community Health Care Provider (CHCP) Ashish Biswas of Andarkotha Community Clinic, said: "Pregnant women, children and citizens avail health care services at our clinic on a daily basis. Married couples are counselled for family planning and provided with contraceptives. Children are given primary treatments and referred to well-equipped hospitals if required. But patients decline in numbers when we face a shortage of medicine."
CHCP Kapil Gayen of Hatiara Community Clinic, said: "The government supplies medicine to the clinics for three months at a time. This is one of the main reasons for the deficit in medicine stock in the last few weeks of every three months."
"If the medicine is supplied each month based on the patients’ demand, the problem can be solved. We generally have only 3-4 categories of medicine during the period of shortages; it is not enough."
However, Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer, Dr Quaium Talukdar said there was no shortage of medicine at the community clinics. “Some medicine might eventually run out of stock a few days before fresh stocks are supplied, but it is not a serious problem."
On a visit to few of the community clinics in Kashiani upazila, this correspondent talked to some of the patients.
Samir Mollick of Singa village in Gopalganj, said: "We are really poor, and cannot afford medical treatment elsewhere other than the free clinics. Previously we had to depend on quack doctors and superstitious treatments, but now are in better condition due to the services of the clinic."
A patient in her sixties, Ranu Begum from Shajail union, was leaving Bhadulia Community Clinic when she was asked about her experience. She said: "We don't usually visit other doctors as we receive good treatment from the clinic. However, when I came here today some anti-acid medicines, the doctor said there were none."
Among other patients at Hatiara Community Clinic, Monindranath Biswas, Nepal Bala and Amla Biswas, left the place empty-handed without the medicines they needed.