Residents of Old Washermenpet locality want nearest Corporation health centre to reopen

Until six months ago, residents of Bhojaraja Nagar near Old Washermenpet had to walk just a few steps to reach the nearest Corporation health centre.

Now they have to walk for at least 30 minutes and go past an unmanned level crossing to get to the next health post.

Ever since the Corporation shut its primary health centre on the second street of Bhojaraja Nagar, in a bid to rationalise its health centres, residents of this thickly-populated north Chennai neighbourhood have been left in the lurch.

“The health centre opened nearly one-and-a-half-years ago. It functioned for a year and has remained locked for the past six months. There are nearly 2,500 families in Bhojaraja Nagar and this hospital was of great help to us. Residents from the neighbouring localities too came here for treatment,” said Srinivasan, a resident of the area.

The health centre provided treatment for basic health problems to persons aged above six years. “Elderly residents benefitted as they could get their blood pressure and sugar levels checked regularly. They had to walk just a few metres. Now, we have to go across the unmanned level crossing to visit the health centre at Ambedkar Nagar,” said Yasudha, another resident.

Bhojaraja Nagar is a thickly-populated area with each house consisting of at least five families. “The health centre had a regular doctor and one or two other doctors who came in every Friday and Saturday. When we asked the officials why the hospital had shut, they did not have suitable answers and simply said the doctors were not coming in,” Mr. Srinivasan said.

According to another resident, the health centre also tested blood samples for malaria. “Now, residents have to go to the hospital at Moolakothalam and wait three hours for test results,” he said. Health officials of the Chennai Corporation said the centre was closed down as part of rationalisation measures. “We want one health centre for every division. The nearest centres are at Basin Bridge and G.R. Nagar,” an official said.

Today, the health centre is in a poor state due to lack of maintenance. Portions of the plastic roofing sheet covering the entrance are broken or missing. Residents said a ceiling fan at the centre was stolen recently and miscreants frequently pelted stones at the building.

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