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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dr YSR imitates Babu, forms mobile clinics

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has formed mobile clinics in villages to boost his image as a service-oriented politician. He is taking up medical activity through NTR Memorial Trust. And now Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has followed suit. Not to lag behind, particularly when the election fever is fast catching up with political parties, the chief minister on Tuesday announced setting up of mobile clinics.

But Rajasekhar Reddy has forgotten how he would be able to provide medicare to the people particularly when he had lost grip over junior doctors, who are nothing more than students. They are yet to receive their degrees and register themselves with the IMA. When Rajasekhar Reddy does not have control over junior doctors, how could he be able to provide service to people through mobile units.

But Rajasekhar Reddy is in an upbeat mood and wants to "universalise quality health care" in Andhra Pradesh. He mooted yet another health mission particularly in the rural areas. This is in addition to the already launched "Rajiv Aarogyasri" (health insurance scheme for the BPL families and white card holders) and the EMRI (108) and Health Information (104).

It is proposed to introduce 475 mobile clinics in rural areas beyond 3 km reach from the Primary Health Centre (PHC) for the benefit of a targeted population of four crore including 8 lakh pregnant women, 28 lakh children less than five years old, 80 lakh school-going children, 70 lakh people with chronic illnesses like TB. Anemia, blindness, asthma, diabetes, hyper-tension etc. The main objective is to provide services for identification, diagnosis, monitoring & treatment, record keeping and referral of risk cases in a habitation through convergent, comprehensive and regular once-a-month fixed day program.

The programme also envisages training of 40,000 Asha workers, 40,000 Anganwadi workers and 40,000 RMPS and 1,40,000 elected village representatives in planning community mobilization for mosquito control, sanitation/hygiene and safe water.

Each of the 475 mobile medical units staffed by 7 people would cover 3,000 population daily totalling 4 crore of population per month. Over 45,000 cell phones would be provided for IDSP, Nep-natal/post-natal and risk reporting.

The program facilitates access to the needy at the habitation itself, for most of the requirements. Free lab diagnosis and medication for 30 per cent of the population with multiple vulnerabilities, 15 per cent may need to be referred to PHCs/hospitals for further treatment. It also alerts public health officials for any outbreaks and epidemics.

The programme saves to the targeted population in terms of access costs, diagnostics costs and treatment costs (e.g., savings of Rs.1,275 for a pregnant woman). Diagnosis, treatment and monitoring at habitation for non-communicable/newly emerging diseases like diabetes, hyper-tension, asthma etc.

With this program, current mortality of MMR, IMR and child mortality could be brought down by 50 per cent within three years and incidence of communicable diseases could be brought down by 60 per cent through effective community participation and planning.

The Chief Minister also reviewed the working of the Emergency Ambulance Services (108) and the Health Information System (104). He asked the Telephone Department to make 104 also toll free from landlines on the lines of 108. The Chief Minister was informed that the 108 and 104 services–both A.P. Government projects with technical support from Satyam (EMRI) –have become very popular and today serving a large and wide spectrum of population.

The Chief Minister will launch the Mobile Clinics Programme on January 26 in the rural areas of the three districts from where the Aarogyasri was launched for better synchronization of both the schemes.

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