Kohima: The Nagaland health department spent a mere 0.58% of the total revenue on drugs/medicines, according to a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report in a performance audit of select district hospitals in Nagaland for the year ending March 31, 2019.

The low expenditure meant there was a shortage of drugs in health centres across the state, the CAG reported.

Of the total expenditure of Rs 2,649.93 crore incurred on health during 2014-19, revenue was Rs 2493.73 crore (94.10%) and the capital expenditure was Rs 156.20 crore(5.90%).

The budget allotment and expenditure of the Health and Family Welfare (H&FW) Department against the overall State Budget during the five-year period 2014-19, it said, ranged from Rs 521.09 crore (4%) in 2014-15 to Rs 797.48 crore (3.90%) in 2018-19, even as the National Health Policy, 2017 envisaged allocation of at least 8% of the total state budget on health.

The expenditure on health ranged from Rs 418.09 crore (4.13%) to Rs 631.42 crore (4.17%) of the total state budget during the period.

The CAG report stated that the health department did not utilise the allocated funds in five years from 2014-19, with savings ranging from Rs 103 crore (19.77%) in 2014-15 to Rs 166.07 crore (20.82%) in 2018-19.

“Due to inadequate spending under the State budget, the secondary healthcare facilities in the states suffered inadequate physical infrastructure, shortage of drugs, equipment, specialist services, and other diagnostic services,” it reported.

The CAG said the availability of drugs in the sub-centres varied from 5% to 73%, with an average of 33%. As for the primary health centres (PHCs), availability of drugs was 36%, and in Community Health Centres (CHCs), it was reported to be “very poor” as against 225 recommended drugs, only 39% were available across the state.

The CAG recommended that the department could further shore up its overall spending on healthcare and particularly increase its spending on drugs and medicines and make on available across all health facilities.

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