Initiatives to Strengthen Kerala’s Public Health Care System
To safeguard the interests of the common people, the Government of Kerala has designed innovative policies to be followed in the public health sector. The standard of health services in Kerala has reached an impressive level compared to the rest of the states in India, which is also on par with that of the developed world. The state had pioneered Universal Health Care Services in the country and its palliative care service has largely been applauded. Kerala is also the only state to have a formal palliative care policy in the country. Infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, death rate and birth rate are the lowest in Kerala compared to the national average. The mission and vision of the LDF government in office underscores that it does not wish the state to step down from the pedestal on which it stands right now.
Sustainable Development Goals — Kerala 2020
The LDF manifesto had promised quality healthcare to all citizens and the integrated health care policy of the government in design, targets a primary health care system that can provide quality service at a lesser cost. The spread of epidemics and the prevalence of lifestyle diseases have been challenging the much applauded Kerala Model of Development. The current policy aims to strengthen the government’s as well as the people’s interventions in prevention. The policies in making follow the framework of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as the directions given by the Central Government.
The most prestigious among the various missions conceived by the government to boost public health care system is Ardram. The Ardram mission aims a people-friendly public health sector. Medical Colleges, General Hospitals, District Hospitals, Taluk Hospitals, Community Health Centres and Primary Health Centres will benefit from the mission. The project aims to revamp Primary Health Centres as Family Health Centres. It will ensure the availability of medicines and a patient-friendly infrastructure, with a focus on primary healthcare and treatment of non-contagious diseases. The mission’s state level key resource team consists of 50 experts. 28 teams have been made of 150 experts to prepare guidelines for the treatment of Cancer, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Haemorrhage. The guidelines for Ophthalmological, Dental and Dermatological diseases are also in preparation.
Special training sessions are being designed for the staff of Health Department, including doctors and staff nurses. Guidelines for the training are in preparation. As a first step, projects will be implemented in a select 152 Primary Health Centres. For a hassle-free implementation of the project, the government has sought the help and support of 15 medical colleges, including private medical colleges. It is important that the surveyors follow a scientific observation method while studying public health. A training session will be held for them and a questionnaire for the survey is in preparation.
Clinical Establishment Act and E-Health Project
To check the quality and working of the numerous clinics in private as well as government sector, an Act is in preparation. A draft of the Clinical Establishment Act is under the review of the cabinet. The E-Health Project targets to link these numerous establishments all over Kerala. The project aims to build a database of individual medical records, easily accessible to the medical practitioners. This could avoid the repeated medical tests and can thereby reduce rush in clinics and labs. Easy access to the records could also speed up the distribution of benevolent funds. The government is currently reviewing the proposals to establish cadre services in Public Health Sector — a Hospital Administration Cadre and a Public Health Administration Cadre.
Health Care for the Differently Abled
Projects are in design to assist the differently-abled population of the state. Paediatricians will be given special training to detect mental health problems in children, if any, at an early stage of childhood. The project to run special Anganawadis for children in need is already in effect in Calicut district. Kannur, Kasargod, and Wayanad will follow suit immediately. Starting special centres in all the medical colleges for autistic children is also under the consideration of the government.
Care for Everyone
Especial care will be given to the victims of HIV and Endosulfan. The inclusive health care policy of the government also guarantees quality service to the marginalized sections of the population, such as transgenders. A project has been designed in association with the Indian Medical Association to reduce causalities during labour. Another project, worth Rs. 250 crores, is designed to develop infrastructure facilities in government hospitals. The decision to upgrade Malabar Cancer Research Centre as a Post Graduate Institute will be a quantum leap in the area of Cancer Research.
Also, it needs to be stressed that the government will not tolerate attempts to build up an anti-scientific temperament. It has strongly dealt with the anti-vaccination campaigns promoted by a few conservative factions in the society, and has ensured the effective administration of preventive medicines and vaccinations, for diseases such as Diphtheria and Poliomyelitis.
To go by the saying, prevention is better than cure. The government will take initiatives to spread awareness among the people of various epidemics and of the consequences of life style changes. It believes in the motto that quality lifestyle leads to quality health and the general well-being of the population results in a healthy society.