FISCAL PRUDENCE

Summary:
While RNTCP consultants routinely squander lakhs on 5-star conferences, all that a patient gets is medicines for six months worth about Rs. 300 (Rupees three hundred only). For diagnosis, consumables spent in sputum test cost peanuts. He receives no incentives – nor does the health worker.
Details:
When it comes to providing even minimal benefits to the patient – the intended beneficiary of this program, rhetoric of poverty is hyped up.
No wonder, all that a patient ends up getting is:
• Medicines for 6 months worth about Rs. 300.
• For his diagnosis, the consumables spent up in sputum tests virtually cost peanuts.
Besides, neither the patients nor the foot soldiers get any incentives whatsoever.It seems highly likely that the omission of X-ray and choice of thrice weekly regime had originated in the first place from economic rather than scientific considerations.
However, when it comes to showering lavish facilities on officials themselves, there is no dearth of resources it seems. From whichever channels – local, district, state, national or international – funds do materialize.
• A single training session for RNTCP consultants (the topmost program officials), was held from May 14 to 31, 2003, in the resort hotel Hill View, Faridabad. Hotel’s expense reportedly came to Rupees 7,99,030* (24) – an amount sufficient to provide full quota of medicines and cure 2,663 patients!
• Obviously, this is just a tip of the iceberg, since meetings, conferences, training sessions and reviews galore in the aftermath of DOTS.
• Worse, in the name of reimbursement of fares for air, taxi, and Rajdhani / Shatabdi travel to the high officials, even bigger chunks of the TB kitty are going down the Indian drains incessantly.