After witnessing spectacular response of ‘Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment Clinics’ across the state, the Punjab Government is all set to set up OOAT Clinics in Community Health Centres (CHC) of State. In first phase, around 12 clinics will commence from SAS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Roopnagar at the CHC level. Giving details, the Health & Family Welfare Minister, Brahm Mohindra said that to provide health care services and treatment to drug dependent persons at the village level, now the health department is going to open OOAT clinics in all Community Health Centres where patient suffering from any drug addiction would get the treatment without having been admitted to hospital. He said that concerned authorities are strictly instructed to ensure, functioning of clinics and centres as per Standard Operating Protocol and mark daily attendance of persons visiting these clinics.The Minister said that in order to fulfil shortage of psychiatrist or supporting staff like male staff nurses, ward attendants, security guards and counsellors for de-addiction and rehabilitation centres at any point, the District De-Addiction and Rehabilitation Society is mandated to recruit them, which is chaired by Deputy Commissioner.Divulging about the availability of essential medicines and free tests at the centres, he said that all medicines are available in plenty in Central Ware house. He said that facility of tests are being provide free of cost in the hospitals to which the government de-addiction centres have been attached.
The Minister reiterated that state government is committed to extend every healthcare service and treatment to the weaker section of the society in the government hospitals. He said that all civil surgeons have been directed to ensure the free treatment to addicts who belong to BPL families. He said that department has also given power to district societies and psychiatrists for providing free treatment to a poor patient even if he doesn’t have BPL Card. “Instructions in this regard have also been circulated to all DCs, Civil Surgeons and psychiatrists”, he added.The Minister said that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has assured that if there is any need of more funds for this crucial programme he would sanction the same from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.He said that it is a fact that patient registration has increased in OOAT clinics and OOAT is becoming more preferred mode of treatment because it is OPD based and absolutely free. He said the average registration in OOAT clinics has increased from 70 new patients per day in June to 408 new patients per day in July. Further, the average footfall in OOAT clinics has increased from 2345 patients per day in June to 4408 patients per day in July. The number is expected to go up substantially over the next two weeks, and is likely to close July at record levels. He said that at present, 81 clinics are functional in the state.He said that capacity building training was being imparted to the teams which would comprise of Medical Officer, Pharmacist, Staff Nurse and data entry operator to conduct proper treatment of addicts at CHC level.