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Thursday, August 30, 2001

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Medical services to be upgraded

By S. Vydianathan

CHENNAI, AUG. 29. A Rs. 650-crore project for upgrading the existing medical services in the State has been sent to the Central Government for its clearance.

Announcing this while submitting the demands for his department, the Health Minister, Mr. S. Semmalai, said the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Development Project, awaiting the approval of the World Bank funding, would be implemented within a period of five years.

The special features of the project, according to the Minister, are improvement of first level referral hospital, development of secondary level hospitals, construction of health sub-centres, improvement of mental health, dental health and public health programme, highways patrolling and accident relief programme, distribution of drugs through drug testing lab and improvement of diagnostic services.

With the objective of providing easily accessible and quality healthcare to the public, the Government had formulated a number of schemes, the Minister said.

The Government recently signed an MOU with the Finland Government for Rs. 8.6 crore soft loan. Under this project, 967 modern equipment would be installed in 29 government medical college hospitals in the State.

As a step towards reducing the MMR and infant mortality rate, emergency referral transport facility would be provided in Madurai and Theni districts at a cost of Rs. 139 lakhs. NGOs would be involved in the scheme which would include ambulances with wireless facilities.

A new Government nursing college in Madurai would be opened in Madurai at a total cost of Rs. 114.8 lakhs. This would be the second Government college in the State, to be started after 1967.

The Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, Chennai, would be provided multi-purpose ultra sound and uro dynamic unit. Three cobalt therapy units and three mammography units would be set up for detection and treatment of cancer. The Madras Medical College Laboratory would be strengthened at a cost of Rs. 2.7 lakhs to make it a national referral laboratory. Geriatric wards would be opened in all medical college hospitals and in 5 headquarters hospital in the current year to take care of senior citizens.

Asst. surgeons recruitment

To find an immediate solution to the shortage of doctors, the Government had decided to recruit 555 assistant surgeons, 1,508 posts of technical and paramedical staff through employment exchanges. About 350 women doctors would be recruited through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, exclusively for primary health centres.

For better management of schemes, a health monitoring information system would be launched at a cost of Rs. 396 lakhs. Under the system, computers would be provided to 66 PHCs in Madurai, and Theni districts.

As self-help groups were playing a vital role in rural healthcare, the group members would be trained in health related activities at a cost of Rs. 250 lakhs.

As a large number of poor people living in slums did not have adequate primary healthcare facilities, the Government had proposed to evolve an urban healthcare policy.

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