Santhwanam to be launched on February 18

The city Corporation’s free palliative care scheme christened ‘Santhwanam’ will soon be launched in the 20 wards under the Vattiyurkavu Primary Health Centre.

The official launch of the programme, which has already been implemented in 80 wards since October 2012, has been scheduled for February 18.

Targeting those who belong to financially weaker sections of society, the Santhwanam staff will first carry out an exhaustive survey of the bedridden, listing those in dire need of help and the specific kind of medical treatment they require.

A meeting follows which will prepare a timetable, to determine the frequency with which certain patients require treatment, be it twice a week or once in two months.

Shabina Shaik, who leads the implementation of the project, said a nurse is allotted per hospital sector – including Fort, Nemom, Poonthura, Kadakampally, and, shortly, Vattiyurkavu. This nurse is accompanied by a National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) nurse who has prior experience dealing with patients afflicted by chronic illnesses. Those who require specialised care are taken to the General Hospital.

“Basic needs such as catheter changes and wound dressing can be carried out at homes and we also make sure that a relative is taught how to do it. Our focus has mostly been on colonies such as Karimadom and Chengalchoola where most people have no idea what needs to be done,” Ms. Shaik said. She said an added benefit of these visits came in the form of carrying out an awareness programme among the poor, regarding certain welfare measures that were available to them.

Welfare standing committee chairman Palayam Rajan said the State government had made it mandatory (since 2012-13) for all local bodies to include palliative care programmes as part of their People’s Plan budget allocations.

Over 70 grama panchayats in Thiruvananthapuram district were taking up palliative care initiatives, he said.

“In four months, the civic body has reached over 750 homes. There is no duplication either, for no other palliative care initiative, carried out by a private agency or NGO has visited the same patients,” Ms. Shaik said.

However, provision of food kits did not figure as part of the scheme. “It is for these extra steps that we require greater involvement of the councillors. They have the contacts and hence the ability to rope in the aid of residents’ associations or other societies towards this end,” she said, adding that a ‘neighbourhood network’ had been created in a few wards.