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J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011 Apr;2(2):95-9. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.81900.

Availability of five essential medicines for children in public health facilities in India: A snapshot survey.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Kadirkamam, Pondicherry, India.

Abstract

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 sulphate (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 cotrimoxazole 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 six states.

CONCLUSION:

The availability of essential medicines for children in public health facilities is not satisfactory and needs to be improved.

KEYWORDS:

Access to medicine; better medicines for children; national rural health mission

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