Every primary health centre (PHC) in the State should stock at least three vials of snake antivenom, Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader has said.

He was speaking to presspersons after inaugurating a seminar for journalists on cancer prevention and tobacco control, organised by Yenepoya University, here on Saturday.

“We have directed the authorities that minimum three vials of the antivenom should be in stock [in PHCs] for emergencies,” Mr. Khader said. Steps would be taken to ensure that there was no shortage of the antivenom in government hospitals, he said.

He conceded that there was a shortage of the antivenom in government hospitals, but the authorities were managing to get supplies.

Privates hospitals, however, were facing a big problem sourcing the antivenom, he added.

B.M. Hegde, physician and former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University, said the government should address the problem of malnutrition. Pregnant women should be provided nutritious midday meals, he said. Women in rural areas should be empowered by providing them smokeless ‘chulhas’, he added.

Nupur Basu, senior journalist and documentary filmmaker, spoke.

Appeal

Gurudeo, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer, told the gathering that people would end up in an unenviable situation like him if they used tobacco. He spoke with the help of an electronic voice box donated to him. “Nobody should consume gutka. I tell this to as many people as I can. Please spread this message,” he said.

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