Provision of comprehensive and quality healthcare at affordable costs to all will be the State’s primary concern in the health sector, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has said.

Addressing the Assembly here on Friday, the Governor said that a comprehensive health policy, which aims at quality and equitable care, was being drawn up by the government. The Mental Health Policy was also being redrafted, in order to meet the emerging needs and challenges. A comprehensive health package designed specifically to address the health concerns of coastal communities —- `Aarogyatheeram’ — will be implemented. He listed out a series of new initiatives that the government was taking to ensure the health and welfare of the poor. These include ‘Kanya Suraksha’, a health package for girls; ‘Kazhcha’, a scheme which offers free cataract surgeries to the poor; ‘Madhuram Balyam’, an innovative scheme specifically designed to address the needs of children from BPL families with Type I diabetes (juvenile diabetes), by providing insulin free of cost and a Direct Cash Transfer system for the tribal belts in Wayanad and Palakkad to improve maternal care.

In the medical education sector, the upgrading of Kozhikode Medical College under the Prime Minister’s Swasthya Suraksha Yojana; launching of a full-fledged Burns Care Unit in all five government Medical College Hospitals, new para medical courses and development of Kottayam, Alappuzha and Kozhikode Medical Colleges as Tertiary Cancer Centres are the major initiatives. The Governor also announced a project to set up a Centre for Holistic Medicine at the Regional Cancer Centre. Another project is the introduction of water ambulances, ‘Jalaraksha’, to reach emergency services to people living in waterlogged areas.