A group of public health experts are meeting in Madurai on Friday to discuss about strengthening of geriatric healthcare in rural areas in the State.

After holding a preliminary discussion here on Sunday, the experts made an appeal to the Tamil Nadu Government to establish palliative care units at all block-level primary health centres for taking care of geriatric population.

According to S. Elango, national vice-president, Indian Public Health Association, there has to be adequate focus on aged people in rural areas also instead of making it only an urban-oriented subject.

“Geriatric population is increasing in semi-urban and rural areas also. Since most of the PHCs are today 30-bedded, a separate unit for geriatric healthcare is essential,” he told The Hindu.

Dr. Elango, a former State Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said that the expertise of geriatric specialist Lakshmi Rahamatullah was being taken since she had conducted extensive studies in Kariapatti block in Virudhunagar district.

“The Indian Public Health Association and Family Health Campaign Association want to make a joint plea to the State and Central Governments to think of geriatric population in villages also. Senior citizens over 60 years of age should not starve or be neglected on health aspects,” he said.

According to him, the infrastructure facilities provided by the State Government in Block PHCs could be well utilised for setting up geriatric wings. “Dental, physiotherapy, eye care, hearing loss, arthritis, cancer and general health check-up will be some of the areas needing focus for the well-being of aged people,” Dr. Elango said.

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