The Madras Medical College has forwarded a proposal to the State Health Department for a separate building to house its Geriatrics Medicine section.
The proposal was sent after the College received Rs.2 crore from the Central government under the XI Five Year Plan to improve geriatric care in the State.
MMC is among the six institutions across the country to receive the money from the Union Health Ministry. According to college authorities of the MMC, which pioneered the concept of geriatric care 40 years ago, the money would go into developing a training programme with a focus on accessibility, preventive and rehabilitation of the elderly.
MMC, as the only college with a full-fledged department in the country to offer MD degree in geriatrics, would be looking to evolve training modules, says B. Krishnaswami, head of the department.
The funds, which would be continued in the next Plan period, would help improve the department's bed strength and install equipment for rehabilitation of the elderly.
While initially the funds will be provided by the Central government, after a couple of years, the State government would take it forward.
75% of elderly afflicted
Geriatricians say almost 75 per cent of elderly persons report “some” health problem.
Specific health problems often leading to loss of functional capacity, include vision and hearing impairment and mobility disorders besides diabetes, cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases.
Organisations working for the welfare of senior citizens have been appealing for affordable healthcare to all above 58 years of age.
Even those availing themselves of the service of the Central Government Health Scheme have been seeking special counters in government hospitals.
Senior citizen R. Sukumaran of Madambakkam echoes this need. “I retired from a nationalised bank and do not get subsidised medical facility or reimbursement. Recently I underwent liver test and I spent Rs.1,200 on it. The government should provide us some relief. We could have a group insurance scheme. We must be provided special counters and a panel of doctors from all departments of medicine to avoid waiting for long hours. Home service for the disabled elderly, and homes for the orphaned and destitute are necessary,” he says.
According to Dean V. Kanagasabai the proposed new building would be a two-storey structure.