Remodelling of vehicles is likely to be over in two months

Rural healthcare in Madurai district is poised to take a giant leap with the Health Department set to roll out the ‘Hospital on Wheels’.

Mobile medical units in rural areas will sport new features under a special scheme supported by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the State Government. The remodelling of 13 vehicles fitted with medical check-up equipment is expected to be over in two months.

“In effect, our district will have 13 remodelled mobile units going around remote areas as ‘Hospital on Wheels’. The first vehicle should be ready in a couple of days and we will introduce it immediately,” S. Senthilkumar, Deputy Director of Health Services, Madurai district, told The Hindu on Saturday.

The vehicles will have on board a medical team comprising a medical officer, staff nurse, hospital worker and lab technician, along with equipment to conduct medical tests. “Mobile medical units were pressed into service through the NRHM-State Government scheme and now have been renamed as Hospital on Wheels to give better access to healthcare in remote villages,” he said. Health Department staff have been trained to conduct mobile camps across the district. R. Abdul Kareem, Assistant Director of Public Health, said that outreach programmes will be conducted on a regular basis to reach the unreached. Every day, two villages will be covered and the target for each ‘Hospital on Wheels’ unit is to cover 40 villages per month.

The medical unit will be stationed at a particular place in a block and people in the surrounding areas will be informed through Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in advance. Remote areas will get top priority and those places have been identified.

“In each camp, we expect 70 to 100 outpatient cases. Antenatal checkups for pregnant women, infant care, tuberculosis and leprosy treatment are among the priorities. A Village Health Nurse will accompany the medical team,” Mr. Kareem said. The Hospital on Wheels concept will also be involved in the implementation of various healthcare schemes of the State Government and NRHM.

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