A hospice centre for the terminally ill was inaugurated by State Coperative Minister Sellur K. Raju and Collector L. Subramanian at the Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre (MMHRC) here on Saturday.

The centre, established by the Lions Club of Madurai Vaigai and the MMHRC, offers palliative care to 25 terminally patients free of charge.

“Patients who are in the final stages of cancer, heart disease, renal failure, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease and other ailments can be admitted to the hospice centre. Their families can approach the centre to admit the patients. Medicines, treatment, food and boarding will be free of cost”, Mr. N. Sethuraman, MMHRC founder, said. He added that the centre would be run with funds provided by volunteers. The services of college students would be enlisted by the centre.

Addressing the media, Mr. Sethuraman said patients would be categorised into three groups based on the criticality of their illness. “There will be one caretaker for four patients, who are in the first and second stages of criticality. For those in the final stage, there will be one caretaker for each patient”, he told the reporters. He said the centre had a prayer hall, garden, sports facility, mortuary and ambulance service.

The district collector, in his address, said the hospice centre provided support to terminally ill patients abandoned by their families.

The minister lauded the initiative of the hospital and said that 1965 people in Madurai have availed the benefits of the State government’s comprehensive health insurance scheme at the MMHRC. A total of 38,598 people have benefited from the scheme in Madurai and four lakh people across the State, he said.

M. Muthuramalingam, district governor of the Lions Clubs, M. Nagarajan, past international director, R.K. Thangaraj, grant administrator of the hospice and Dr. Mallika Tiruvadanan, founder of the Lakshmi Pain and Palliative Care Centre in Chennai, also spoke.

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