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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

SCTIMST to foray into rural health

C. Maya

Satellite centre soon in Wayanad

Governing body gives approval

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) is set to enter the field of rural health, research and development of low-cost rural-based biomedical technologies with the launch of its proposed satellite facility at Wayanad.

The governing body of the institute, which includes representatives of the Prime Minister's Office and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has already given the approval to set up the proposed SCTIMST-like facility at Wayanad. It is expected to be developed as a full-fledged medical facility as well as bio-medical technologies research centre in three phases, in the next three to five years.

The Rs.100-crore project is likely to be granted a special budget by the Planning Commission. The Indian Council for Medical Research, the DST and the Union Health Ministry will chip in with funds at each phase of the development of the institute.

Land identified

The State government has already identified and initiated the process of acquiring 200 acres of land for the SCTIMST. The location is likely to be near Mananthavady, close to the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka border. This will enable people from the neighbouring States to take advantage of the tertiary-level medical facilities proposed to be developed.

In the first phase, the public health wing of the SCTIMST, Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, will set up its research and basic medical care services in Wayanad. The focus will be on information gathering and social and community-based surveys to assess the health status of people and the specific health issues in the region, such as genetic disorders among the tribal population, so as to have an understanding of the basic requirements of the rural community.

“We also expect to have clinical services that offer primary and secondary care in phase I, for which we might collaborate with some medical facilities in the area. Phase II will see the opening of the advanced care facility, the hospital wing of SCTIMST, offering tertiary care. Phase III will be the development of our biomedical technology wing,” Director of SCTIMST K. Radhakrishnan told The Hindu.

At least in the initial phase, the Wayanad wing is expected to be modelled on the structure of the parent body itself. Phase II is expected to be developed, banking on the strengths of the SCTIMST in the areas of cardiology and neurology, initially.

The institute's bio-medical technology (BMT) wing has been engaged in the development of indigenous medical technologies, a good number of which have already been transferred to the industry for commercial production.

However, so far the research has been limited to certain key areas.

The BMT expansion in Wayanad, exploring new areas of research, is expected to be one of the key features of the project.

There had been a proposal earlier that the SCTIMST open an extended care, 1,000-bed super specialty facility near Vithura in Thiruvananthapuram. The DST and the Prime Minister's Office were more in favour of the institute going into the area of development of low-cost rural biomedical technologies.

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