May 28, 2023

Kerala: LDF Govt Focuses on Health Infrastructure, Inaugurates 5,409 Public Health Centres

Neelambaran A

The Public Health Centres will function in association with LSGs to ensure antenatal care, child and maternal care, and fulfilling other medical needs.

THE Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala, as part of the 100 days programme to celebrate the completion of its two years in office, inaugurated 5,409 health and wellness centres across the state.
The primary aim of the centres would be preventing diseases, ensuring annual checkups to people of the respective neighbourhoods, and following up treatment for those in need. Besides, they will also hold campaigns and do interventions on change of lifestyles in association with the local self-governments (LSGs).

The centres have a focus on family welfare programmes, antenatal care, maternal and child health, and care for people with special needs, including disabled, transgender people, senior citizens and tribals, among others.

They aim to take comprehensive primary health care to the grassroots by ensuring neighbourhood services. As part of the decentralised planning in the state, the centres will have welfare committees and health clubs to take forward the activities.

The LDF government has continued to improve the public health infrastructure as part of its policy to strengthen the sector. The state has a strong network of primary health centres, taluk and district hospitals to ensure affordable and quality healthcare. Given the increasing need for more localised facilities, the LDF government decided to upgrade the facilities.

Veena George, the health and family welfare minister, wrote a detailed note on the government's aspirations in equipping such centres with adequate facilities. "These centres will become a place to carry out various medical tests, annual checkups, essential medicines, diet advisory to pregnant women, gymnasium to stay physically fit and create awareness to prevent lifestyle disease", she said.

The centres will operate six days weekly from 9 am to 4 pm. The centres will be served by Junior Health Inspector (JHI), Junior Public Health Nurse (JPHN), ASHA worker and Mid Level Service Providers (MLSP) to extend services to those in need.

The LDF has claimed the intervention of the government in the health sector as the 'True Kerala Story', even as several state governments and the union government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are promoting privatisation and contractualisation of the sector.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister, said, "The people's health centres inaugurated today are the latest example of the ‘Kerala model’ vision in the field of public health. When the health sub-centres become people's health centres, better physical conditions are being created there."

The LSGs will form sub-centre welfare committees and health clubs in these centres to understand and ensure the facilities required. In addition, the people's health centres aim to care for the patients discharged from hospitals,  other campaigns and disease prevention activities. These are some of the key goals set by the LDF government in the second phase of the Ardram Mission's activities.

"The announcement of people's health centres is a major boost to the health sector in Kerala. People's involvement in the field of public health will help in achieving better results," Vijayan said.

The decentralised planning implemented in Kerala has resulted in positive results in several sectors, primarily health and public education. The community palliative care in the state has attracted global recognition in recent times as well.

"We want to extend services to people across different age groups, pregnant women, youth, transgenders, differently abled and those bedridden owing to health issues and age-related problems. We will achieve these through people's participation," Veena George noted.