The working class of North Chennai contends with poor sanitation and polluted atmosphere that often lead to Acute Diarrhoeal Disorders (ADD) and respiratory problems.

To meet the population's demands, improvements have been taken up at the Communicable Diseases Hospital in Tondiarpet. It currently serves 1,000 outpatients who visit the hospital everyday, according to Mayor M. Subramanian.

Persons covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) depend on the facility at K.K. Nagar and the few private hospitals, as the ESIC hospital in Aynavaram lacks facilities.

Residents also want paediatric facilities similar to that in Egmore at the Government Stanley Hospital.

The localities have a huge population of children. Most people work in small industrial units and earn around Rs. 7,000 a month, and thus cannot afford treatment at private hospitals, according to P. Badri Narayana, a resident of Kondithope, which is just a km away from Stanley Hospital.

The hospital should offer speciality treatment options, says a North Chennai-based paediatrician, who was formerly in government service.

Fatal accidents

In Tiruvottiyur, residents contend with traffic congestion and fatal accidents. A fortnight ago a patient died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, recalls the municipal chairman R. Jayaraman.

In the highly polluted Manali municipality, which has 28 factories, residents have to put up with high pollution. Municipality officials say they have sought funds to develop the taluk hospital.

The hospital has a maternity facility but for other ailments patients are sent to the GH or Stanley, says M. Mahalingam, a social activist.

Scan and X-ray equipment are not available in the taluk hospital. “Many can't afford a private hospital, where atleast Rs. 250 is spent on consultation and medicines, even for a simple ailment,” he adds.

The PHC and two corporation sub-health centres in Madhavaram cater to a population of around 90,000 residents, according to S. Sivasubramanian, commissioner of the municipality. “There are not enough facilities to deal with patients reporting with ADD,” he says, adding that residents of North Chennai must be provided better healthcare facilities.

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