In a bid to fulfill the state government’s vision of establishing its own pharmacies, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) is overcoming obstacles with the initiation of its pharmacy project. Despite facing challenges related to space and the availability of doctors, the municipality is determined to open more pharmacies to cater to the healthcare needs of citizens. To achieve this, the municipality has brought in ten containers, with plans to start 22 pharmacies by the end of January.
The ‘Our Pharmacy‘ initiative stems from the state government’s commitment to provide timely diagnosis and free treatment for common ailments to all citizens. The brainchild of Balasaheb Thackeray, the project aims to set up pharmacies across 317 talukas in Maharashtra, starting with Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation. This move is part of a larger plan to open pharmacies in all major municipalities in the state, with Vasai-Virar set to have 55 such pharmacies.
Overcoming Initial Hurdles
Setting up the pharmacies faced initial challenges, primarily related to the availability of suitable space. Despite issuing advertisements seeking appropriate locations, the municipality received limited response. In response, the decision was made to establish pharmacies within containers. The first batch of ten containers has arrived, and within these, ten ‘Our Pharmacies’ will be operational, with one located in Manvelpada, Virar. Currently, eight pharmacies are already operational, and work is progressing on the remaining four. The aim is to have all ten pharmacies in containers up and running, achieving the target of 22 operational pharmacies by January.
Insights from Municipal Official
Vinod Davle, the municipal commissioner (health), highlighted the challenges faced in securing suitable locations for the pharmacies. He mentioned that despite efforts and advertisements, the response was not as expected. The decision to use containers was a strategic move to expedite the establishment of pharmacies and overcome space-related challenges. Davle emphasized the municipality’s commitment to launching ten pharmacies within the ten containers, with the one in Manvelpada, Virar, being a crucial addition. Currently, eight pharmacies are operational, and four more are in progress.
Challenges for Doctors
One of the persistent challenges faced by the ‘Our Pharmacy’ initiative is the availability of MBBS doctors. Despite advertisements, the response from qualified doctors has been limited. Currently, only three MBBS doctors are associated with the project. The low remuneration offered by the municipality is cited as a reason for the scarcity of MBBS doctors, leading to considerations for hiring qualified BAMS doctors.
Understanding ‘Our Pharmacy’
The state government’s initiative involves establishing 700 ‘Our Pharmacies’ with funding from the government. These pharmacies will conduct 30 types of tests, with each facility staffed by a medical officer, a nurse, a pharmacist, and an assistant. The pharmacies will operate from 2 PM to 10 PM, providing accessible healthcare services to the public. Additionally, approval has been granted for using the accumulated funds for the past four years, providing further financial support for the project.
In conclusion, despite facing initial challenges, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation remains steadfast in its commitment to establishing ‘Our Pharmacies.’ The initiative aligns with the state government’s broader vision of accessible healthcare for all citizens, and the municipality is taking innovative steps to overcome obstacles and ensure the success of this crucial healthcare initiative.