The Government Leprosy Hospital at Chevayur here has been renamed as Government Hospital of Dermatology.

The State government has issued a notification in this regard. An official press release issued here on Tuesday said that the name change would help the public to know that the hospital also provided treatment to various skin diseases apart from leprosy.

Currently, the hospital provided treatment to both leprosy and skin diseases. “We have also kept a board outside the hospital. Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with leprosy prevents many people from coming to the hospital,” Sarala Nair, Hospital Superintendent, told The Hindu.

Recently, the Government Leprosy Hospital at Koratty, Thrissur, also changed its name as Gandhigram Government Hospital of Dermatology. There are three government leprosy hospitals including the Leprosy Sanatorium at Noornad, Alappuzha.

A study has shown that the inpatients are diminishing due to the decreased cases of leprosy in the region and changed treatment protocol. Perhaps that is why government decided to diversify the treatment available at the leprosy hospitals in the State.

Previously, the government had also decided to redeploy the staff after revising the staff pattern of government-run hospitals including General and Women and Child Hospital in the State. This was to reduce excess workload and improve efficiency. However, the idea was dropped for different reasons. As of now, the hospital at Chevayur could accommodate 116 patients. It had a superintendent, three doctors, one head nurse, two grade nurses and six staff nurses, and 15 other workers. “We will be able to deal with even an influx of patients with the existing manpower,” Dr. Sarala Nair said.

She said the government had already sanctioned construction of a new building at the cost of Rs.one crore. The amount had been handed over to the Department of Public Works.

The infrastructure was satisfactory now but definitely needed improvement, she said. A year ago, the hospital was in the news on account of the poor condition of the in-patient wards. It was found that the roofs of the male and female wards were broken at many places and the titles had fallen down during the rainy season.

The work done by the Kerala Health Research and Welfare Society (KHRWS) had also come under the scanner.

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