The government scheme to start a special geriatric care centre in Chennai will come through soon, Health Minister MRK Panneerselvam said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting after inaugurating a Geriatric Rehabilitation Block at Voluntary Health Services, here, Mr. Panneerselvam added that the Central scheme, evaluated at Rs. 120 crore, will come to fruition within a few months. The need for schemes and programmes to help the aged, specifically those who are poor and disabled, is becoming more and more felt.

He congratulated the VHS for setting up a facility to take care of the rehabilitation needs of the aged and the Inner Wheel Club of Madras South for having financed the building. VHS was among the private not-for-profit healthcare institutions receiving grants from the government, he added.

M.S. Swaminathan, president, VHS, said the Geriatric Rehabilitation Block was part of the efforts to strengthen the capacity of the institution, in order to fulfil its mission of providing health care to even those who are unable to afford it. There was no underestimating the value of rehabilitation that followed treatment in ensuring the well being of a person.

E.S.Krishnamoorthy, honorary secretary, said the old building that originally housed the geriatric block had become decrepit and efforts were made to refurbish the entire structure. The new building is completely disabled-friendly, keeping in mind the requirements of those who are debilitated by age and other illness.

Lakshmi Vijayakumar, head, department of Psychiatry, said growing up was a natural process, but it was marked by unnatural conditions, including stroke and dementia. The poor and the disabled had limited access to medical care and had a poor nutritional status as well. She thanked the members of the IWC for having pledged to spend time with the elderly admitted in the block.

Pallavi Shah, president, International IWC, said the Club felt honoured to contribute to the good work being done by an institution founded by K.S.Sanjivi.

Vijaya Thayanban, past president, IWC Madras South, pledged the Club's continuing support to VHS.

Manjula Pragasam, president, IWC Madras South, Kala Ravichandran, district chairman, Inner Wheel District 323, and S.Janaki, medical superintendent, VHS, offered felicitations.

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