The public health department may claim to have made Vitamin A syrup available to all children as prophylactic doses for Vitamin A deficiency at civic run hospitals, the Out Patient Department (OPD) at Sion Hospital has run dry of it’s stock since the past three months.
MiD DAY obtained a copy of the letter Sion Hospital’s Immunisation department staff sent to the Senior Assistant Medical Officer (AMO) and the F/North ward office stating the lack of Vitamin A supply, dated December 28, 2012. A senior doctor at Sion hospital alleged that despite sending several letters thereafter, there has been no response from concerned BMC authorities.
In the letter, the hospital staff mentions that no syrup has been supplied to them despite being in touch with the concerned BMC officials.
Patients who arrive at the OPD are sent back and are forced to buy the syrup from private pharmacy stores. Sources at the hospital confirmed that whenever they contacted the BMC dispensary based in Matunga that supplies Vitamin A to Sion Hospital, they were given different excuses. Apparently, the Matunga dispensary does not have a medical officer and are unable to supply new stock without authorisation. A senior doctor on condition of anonymity said, “Vitamin A deficiency in children could result in loss of vision and night blindness. Most children from slum areas who arrive at our hospital suffer from deficiency and need to be provided with Vitamin A syrup. The parents cannot afford to purchase this syrup and avoid providing their children with it.”
When contacted, a senior BMC official, on condition of anonymity, said, “There was shortage of stock until December but fresh stocks have arrived. We will contact the Sion Hospital authorities and will look into the shortage of syrup.”
Dr Suleiman Merchant, Dean, Sion Hospital said, “I have not been intimated of the situation by the hospital staff. We usually have sufficient stock of such medication. I will immediately look into the matter and speak to the concerned authorities if needed.”
Despite several attempts, Dr Arun Bamne, executive health officer at the BMC could not be reached for comment.