Tertiary care centres in Kochi, Kozhikode

The Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Thiruvananthapuram, will be made a State cancer institute and Kochi and Kozhikode will get tertiary cancer centres, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Thursday.

The RCC would get Rs.125 crore for the process and the Kochi and Kozhikode centres, part of the 20 centres sanctioned across the country, would get Rs.50 crore each as the Union government’s contribution.

Upgrade

The Alappuzha and Kozhikode medical colleges would be upgraded as super-specialty centres as part of the upgrade of 39 medical colleges across the country. This would be done by increasing the number of beds by about 250 and adding full-fledged departments in Oncology, Cardiology, Neurology, and Nephrology.

Human resource was the biggest problem faced by the health sector. Corrective measures had been taken to change certain stringent rules of the Medical Council of India (MCI) so that setting up of medical colleges became a viable and attractive proposition.

Over the last four years, the numbers of seats in MBBS had gone up by 55 per cent. This was 75 per cent in postgraduate courses, he said.

Earlier, the maximum number of seats in an MBBS course was limited to 150, which was 250 now. To make available more qualified professors as faculty members for medical colleges, the retirement age of medical college teachers had been raised to 70, Mr. Azad said. The State now had to take a call on raising the age limit, he said.

Recognition of degrees

The country had started recognising medical degrees of the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand so that Indian doctors working in these countries could opt to work here as well. There were about 81,000 medical professionals in the U.S., 75,000 in the U.K., 50,000 in the Gulf, and a sizeable number in other countries, the Minister said.

It was unfortunate that the all-India examination for medical entrance (NEET), started by the government, was struck down by the Supreme Court on the petitions filed by private medical colleges, he said.

A comprehensive lifestyle diseases awareness and control programme called Lifestyle Education and Awareness Programme (LEAP) was inaugurated by the Minister at a function at Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School.

The programme, a joint effort of the National Rural Health Mission, the State Health Department, and the Education Department, aimed at creating awareness through education. A fitness centre was opened at the school as part of the programme.

As youth was the future of the country, the Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram for adolescents had been packaged to provide a screening for diseases for those in the 9-18 age group.

Screening for lifestyle diseases would be done for 30-odd diseases. Treatment would be free for the youth under the programme, he said.

Almost 27 crore children would benefit from the programme for which 5,000 medical teams had been created. Their would be special focus on mental health, considering the difficult phase of their growing age, he said.

Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar presided over the function. K. Babu, Minister for Excise and Ports, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, and MLAs in the district were present.

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