August 21, 2007

A new look for primary health centres

Flowers of myriad hues and miniature lush green lawns beckon visitors. Illuminated name boards catch their eyes. A waiting shed with chairs and benches provide them comfort.

A UPS to ensure uninterrupted power supply, water filter for safe drinking water, fire extinguishers, a colour TV and DVD, and also LPG stoves with gas refills for sterilisation are some of the other amenities that have been given. Of course they are not corporate hospitals in the metros, but the modest Primary Health Centres (PHCs) of rural Tamil Nadu.

These facilities along with life-saving drugs and medical equipment, including semi auto analysers for blood testing and ultra sonogram scan machines for anti-natal care, have literally transformed the PHCs and Sub Health Centres into throbbing healthcare units. The National Rural Health Mission of the Union Ministry of Health is the motivating force behind such a fairy-tale transformation in the delivery system of the State’s rural health care and particularly in Salem district.

Under the programme, the PHCs are being upgraded to elicit community participation through Patient Welfare Societies. The members are from local bodies, rural development, non-Governmental organisations and gram sabhas, who in co-ordination with medical staff, ensure an effective functioning of PHCs in their localities.

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