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Indian Express
01 February 2011
By Majid Jahangir
Chandigarh, India

PGI Faces Glove Shortage as Contractor Refuses to Send Supplies Due to Hike in Rubber Rates
Got a Toothache? Buy a Pair of Surgical Gloves for the Doctor Before Treatment
YOU have got a toothache and need to visit the doctor? Don’t forget to buy a pair of surgical gloves for your doctor first; because you will not be attended to till you `gift’ the gloves to your doctor. This is the scenario, prevailing at the Oral Health Science Centre of the region’s premier health institute, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research’s (PGIMER), these days.

Ram Kumar, a resident of Chandigarh, had developed a toothache over the weekend. For two days, he took painkillers as he planned to consult a doctor at PGIMER. On Monday, when he visited the hospital, the first thing the doctors told him was to purchase a pair of gloves for his examination.

Like Kumar, all patients who visit the Oral Health Sciences Centre at PGI nowadays are asked to bring a pair of gloves for the examination. As a result, patients and their attendants can be seen at various drug shops at the PGI looking for disposable gloves. The doctors use these gloves for the examination of the patients and once used, the gloves are disposed.

According to insiders, PGI has been facing a severe shortage of gloves for the last three months as the main contractor has reportedly refused to provide the supply due to the increase in rates of natural rubber. Sources said despite the PGI authorities’ assurances to the contractor that they would increase the rate contract by 10 per cent, he has refused to provide the supplies.

And it is not only the Oral Health Sciences Centre. Most other departments of PGIMER, too, are advising patients to get a pair of gloves for their examination. The patients who have to undergo surgery are asked to purchase the gloves first, besides the other required items.

PGI officials, however, said that they are buying the gloves on a need basis. "We are buying the gloves on a need basis from the non–plan budget," said PGIMER Official Spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar. "We will float a new tender for supply of gloves very soon and will be able to restore the normal supply."

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