From November 1, generic drugs would be made available free of cost in all government hospitals in the State.

Dialysis units will be set up in all district hospitals across the State this year, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has said.

He was inaugurating a dialysis unit set up at General Hospital with financial assistance from HDFC Bank where 100 dialyses would be offered free of cost to patients.

Mr. Sivakumar said taluk hospitals would also be equipped with dialysis units in a phased manner.

Public sector hospitals should become the lifeline of the poor. The government was making consistent efforts to improve the facilities in the public sector hospitals and make available all super-specialty treatments offered by major private hospitals, he said.

Six new medical colleges were on the anvil. These would be launched in the government sector at Badiyadukka in Kasaragod, Manjeri in Malappuram, Painav in Idukki, and Konni in Pathanamthitta. The medical college at Haripad would be a public-private initiative, while the one at Palakkad would be a self-financing institution under the Department for Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Mr. Sivakumar said environmental degradation was the major cause of the outbreak of infectious diseases across the State every monsoon. The government was all set to launch a sustainable year-long action plan for infectious disease prevention and control.

The government was trying to resolve the shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in the public sector hospitals.

From November 1, generic drugs would be made available free of cost in all government hospitals in the State. Steps were being taken to reduce drug prices. Thirty-five Karunya pharmacies would be opened this year.

The Medical College Hospital here would be made a fully referral hospital. To make this possible, all periphery hospitals would be strengthened, Mr. Sivakumar said.