More than 15,000 pieces of medical equipment dysfunctional
SRINAGAR: Inordinate delay in implementing the Government of India-sponsored Biomedical Equipment Management and Maintenance Programme (BMMP) in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in the pilling up of over 50 percent bio-medical equipment as defunct in the last three years.
The mega flagship programme, started in 2015, allows state governments to outsource medical equipment maintenance comprehensively for all equipment across all facilities. Except for Jammu and Kashmir, the programme launched in 18 states has brought desired results, bringing down the number of defunct pieces of equipment, thereby reducing the cost of care and improving quality care in public health facilities.
An official of the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), which gives technical support to the BMMP, reasoned out, under anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media, that the delay was triggered by “excessive delays” in the tendering process by the J&K government, despite allocation of a tranche of funds by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In-charge NHSRC for Jammu and Kashmir Ajai Basil told Kashmir Reader that they have sent several reminders to the concerned departments for the scheme’s take-off.
“But the programme is yet to take off due to various reasons best known to them. I don’t know what is stopping them from starting the scheme,” he said, adding that a tranche of funds have also been released to the state.
“Earlier, the implementation got delayed due to some issue with the tendering process. Now, there is no reason to delay the implementation as the tendering process has been completed. One bidder has finally been selected to run the regular maintenance of equipment,” Basil added.
A mapping exercise carried out by the health ministry of all bio-medical equipment and their current status revealed that 50 to 60 percent of equipment across J&K was dysfunctional. The cost of the dysfunctional equipment is more than Rs 20 crore, a source said. “The mapping, which is as yet not fully completed in J&K, had identified nearly 15,000 equipments to repair so far,” said a senior health official.
A JK health department official admitted that hospitals are facing serious problems with equipment such as microscopes, ventilators and X-ray machines apart from hundreds of other equipments and apparatus that are lying defunct for want of maintenance.
“It is a huge burden on our health care system because we are unable to provide hassle-free facilities due to a lack of essential diagnostic and imaging facilities,” the official said.