Cardiac surgeries at affordable rates make this Public Health Centre popular. R. Sujatha writes about the model unit

The Public Health Centre on Lake View Road in West Mambalam works through the week.

A patient can walk in for a tetanus shot early on Sunday morning and receive it without any of the hospital staff pulling a long face. And the shot costs just a fraction of what the patient may shell out in a corporate hospital.

The low-profile health centre, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this September, offers even more complicated and expensive services at affordable prices. Among the most notable ones are cardiac surgeries, including procedures such as stenting and bypass surgery – are performed.

A few years ago, the centre constructed an exclusive building, opposite the main hospital, and establish a paediatric section there.

However, with the paediatric department keen on continuing in the old building, the new block was handed over to the cardiology department, says K.S. Nagarajan, a volunteer.

It cost the hospital Rs. 4.5 crore to set up the department, which includes a six-bed intensive care unit for post-surgery patients. "All of the money for the building came from a donor," Nagarajan adds.

The department has so far performed 74 surgeries, under the leadership of cardiothoracic surgeon V. Arun.

“We don't take up high risk cases. The patients are covered under the chief minister's comprehensive health insurance scheme. The cost of the operation and treatment is well within prescribed limits,” Dr. Arun said. Volunteers largely run the various sections of this hospital, which include a school for special children.

The hospital's oldest doctor, 86-year-old M.K. Srinivasan, is a volunteer. Most of the trustees are volunteers from nearby localities.

Among the challenges is increasing the volunteer force.

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