Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare S. Gandhiselvan has called upon private hospitals to provide advanced medical care to those who did not have the resources to pay for it. “You can take charges from those who can afford to pay and use these to treat the poor,” he said after inaugurating VGM Hospital- Institute of Gastroenterology here on Sunday.

Mr. Gandhiselvan appreciated the new hospital’s Managing Director and Chief Gastroenterologist V.G. Mohan Prasad for opening a speciality gastroenterology centre. Along with Rural Industries Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy, the Health Minister visited various facilities at the hospital, including the advanced equipment for diagnosis and treatment of various disorders.

Mr. Palanisamy called upon Dr. Mohan Prasad to open a separate ward for poor patients and provide a huge concession in charges.

The Minister said that from being known only as an industrial hub, Coimbatore was now known as a prominent healthcare and educational centre in the country.

Lifestyle changes led to an increase in the number of cases of disorders in the digestive system. A specialised gastroenterology centre such as the new hospital would only help in the early detection and effective treatment of these cases.

Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra, B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar said some doctors and their families had taken immense efforts at establishing hospitals, including speciality centres, in Coimbatore. “With such centres in Coimbatore, people need not go to other cities or even to other countries for treatment. “Therefore, we must appreciate these families for their contribution to healthcare in Coimbatore,” he said.

While it was clear that more people with erratic diet visited gastroenterologists often, the doctors themselves did not practice what they preached. Every harmful food was available at doctors’ meetings.

Chairman of K.G. Hospital G. Bakthavathsalam stressed research by doctors. “During my conversation with Mr. Gandhiselvan, he said the Indian Council for Medical Research allocated Rs.1,000 crore a year for research. But, only around Rs.100 crore was used,” he said.

Dr. Bakthavathsalam said diet and exercise played a vital role in keeping diseases away. He complimented Dr. Mohan Prasad for pursuing excellence in the field of gastroenterology. “It is a matter of pride for me to be his patient; my student’s patient,” he said.

Chairman of Bannari Amman Group S.V. Balasubramaniam recalled the efforts taken by Dr. Mohan Prasad along with the Rotary Clubs about a decade ago to vaccinate 3.25 lakh children against Hepatitis B.

Medical Council of India member A. Muruganathan said Dr. Mohan Prasad always stressed preventive medicine. He hoped that the new hospital would become an educational institution in gastroenterology.

Gastroenterologist at Apollo Hospital K.R. Palanisamy said some of the gastroenterology disorders seen now were unheard of earlier. These were known in the West and had come into India now because of lifestyle and diet changes. He attributed most of the disorders to junk food.

Dr. Palanisamy said that apart from many other achievements, Dr. Mohan Prasad was known for introducing the capsule endoscopy in the State.

“The eminence of the doctors matter more than that of the place they practised,” he said.

Principal Secretary and Director of Economics and Statistics Sheela Priya and Secretary of Highways G. Santhanam were present.

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