THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Thursday approved state's new health policy which seeks to bring path-breaking changes in the health sector besides laying the roadmap for taking on the upcoming challenges in medical care.
The government intends to build a robust healthcare infrastructure bringing significant changes in the primary health sector to the super specialty level besides streamlining administrative and clinical services.
The policy acknowledges the fact that the state is slipping in some areas and stagnant in others. There is a drop in vaccination coverage, infant mortality, though the lowest in the country, needs to be brought down further, and infectious diseases have taken its toll on people's health.
The policy proposes a PHC in each panchayat with facilities which include OP clinics, minor OT, labor room, basic pharmacy, laboratory services, health information collection mechanism and health education system.
Under E-Health, the medical details of all families residing within the limits of the PHC will be collected. This is to map the health profile of the population and take steps accordingly.
Public health activities will be brought under the District Medical Officer. appointment of nurses, technicians and pharmacists would be regulated in a transparent manner.
The policy has prepared basic guidelines for human resources required for the next 25 years in the health sector. It has proposed strict enforcement of norms for infrastructure facilities and faculty in medical college hospitals.
The government will withdraw essentiality certificate and the Health University will cancel affiliation of medical college hospitals without the required faculty and minimum patient strength.
Hospital vigilance system will be strengthened further and ban on private practice will be enforced strictly.
The policy emphases on determining the number of seats for PG courses and Super Speciality Courses strictly on the basis of human resources requirement .
Some of the important courses proposed include emergency medicine, geriatrics, family medicine, critical care, sports medicine, clinical embryology, radiation physics, genetics and hospital administration.
Registration and grading on the basis of facilities will be made mandatory for all clinical laboratories and Imaging Centres. A Clinical Diagnostic Technology Council will be constituted to monitor the facilities and services of these centres. A comprehensive trauma care and emergency medical services will be set up and participation of public in rescue and relief of trauma patients will be ensured.
A modern medicine research centre will be established. The state government will make efforts to manufacture patented drugs, adhering to Indian Patent Act . This is to ensure patented drugs are available to people at a reasonable price.
Emergency services and Trauma Care: Special ambulances will be deployed with trained staff in potential accident-prone zones. Comprehensive trauma care facilities will be provided by pooling resources of government, private and cooperative hospitals in every 10 km area.
Compared to other states, the infant mortality rate in the Kerala is low but it needs to be brought further down. A survey will conducted in areas reporting infant mortality and appropriate remedial measures will be taken.
The ongoing Mrithasanjeevni programme will be strengthened. Organ transplant facilities will be extended to other medical college hospitals.
Ayush to become a separate dept
The Health Department has been bifurcated into Modern Medicine and Ayush departments under the new health policy of the government.The modern medicine will have three directorates; directorate of clinical services covering all hospitals, directorate of public health which will take care of administration of hospitals and work related to public health and directorate of medical education covering medical colleges.
The doctors will be divided into three cadres for serving under the new directorates.The health department, which is overburdened with the responsibilities of running more than 1,250 hospitals in the state, is finding it difficult to effectively manage the public health challenges. A separate public health directorate will help in tackling public health issues including prevention and control of the infectious diseases effectively.
Experts say the health department should continue to focus on major hospitals including district, taluk and general hospitals while the secondary and primary community health centres could be handled by the public health directorate. This system would be effective in dealing with the growing infectious and communicable diseases in the state.
The immunisation programmes, disease control and prevention programmes which are now being carried out by the directorate of health services, will be transferred to the public health directorate once it is formed....