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Updated: November 18, 2013 14:18 IST

Generators, refrigerators help Coimbatore PHCs tackle power cuts

R. Sairam
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A pharmacist at Karamadai primary health centre removes the ice from deep freezer equipment to a portable vaccine carrier. PHOTO: R. Sairam
The Hindu
A pharmacist at Karamadai primary health centre removes the ice from deep freezer equipment to a portable vaccine carrier. PHOTO: R. Sairam

Even as rural areas of Coimbatore district suffer more than five hours of power cut every day for the past couple of weeks, the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) have managed to continue providing uninterrupted service, thanks to the installation of generators, power back systems and ice packs.

Sources in the Public Health Department told The Hindu here on Sunday that all the 47 PHCs in Coimbatore district had been outfitted with either generator sets or power back-up systems.

The 10 PHCs that had operation theatres had been provided with both generators and power back-up systems to ensure that the ongoing surgeries were not affected till the generators were pressed in to service.

While procuring diesel had resulted in higher expenditure, the official said that funds were not a constraint for the Public Health Department. The Block Medical Officers were given the funds to purchase diesel and allocate them to the PHCs in the block.

Further, all the PHCs had been provided with Ice Lined Refrigerators (ILR) that were designed to store vaccines, pharmaceuticals and blood, the official added.

Electronic equipment

The PHCs had been provided with sensitive electronic equipment such as ultrosonograms, electrocardiograms, blood analysers, incubators, and auto claves (which sterilise operating knifes) under the National Rural Health Mission.

The generators and power back-up systems had helped keep these systems function during power cuts, said a medical officer at Karamadai upgraded PHC, which has 30 beds and covered 12 health sub centres.

A PHC pharmacist said that ILRs, which are used to store vaccines for polio, tuberculosis, measles and others, kept the temperature at between two and eight degrees. Even without power supply, it could maintain the optimum temperature for up to 12 hours. The PHCs also had deep freezer equipment used to make ice cubes for the portable vaccine carriers.

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