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`Government doctors must serve in rural areas at least for a year'

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, APRIL 7. " All government doctors will be required to serve at least a year in rural areas," the Health Secretary, Sheela Rani Chunkath, said today.

The doctors will be given an assurance that they would be allowed to move out of the village after completing a year's service. This is to ensure that staff were available in the rural health sub-centres. There is an acute shortage of anaesthesiologists and radiologists. Hence, it was decided to transfer them from ESI hospitals, she said at a sensitisation workshop organised here by the Health department on the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project.

The Health Minister, Thalavai Sundaram, explained the steps taken to reduce maternal and neo-natal mortality, opening 24-hour CEmONC centres. The HSP would contribute to improving health systems in tribal areas and help in the poor having access to hospitals.

It would also aim at developing effective models to combat non-communicable diseases, strengthening trauma care activities and preventing accidents. Strengthening hospital management information systems would help in monitoring and evaluating the activities and providing better care, Mr. Sundaram said.

While most hospitals in the public health set-up had varying bed strength and lacked uniformity of services, under the HSP every hospital would be categorised and care standardised.

Standard treatment protocols would be developed and teams would be established in all hospitals to ensure that there was no letdown in the quality of care. Hospitals would be ranked and quality audits would be performed periodically, the HSP project director, Supriya Sahu, said.

A comprehensive system would be established in all government hospitals, which would provide for storage rooms, materials for storing and training of all staff.

The World Bank Team Task Leader, Preeti Kudesia, said the focus would be on reducing the Infant Mortality Rate and the Maternal Mortality Rate.

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