While infrastructure development is a major spin off from the World Classical Tamil Conference, the government has taken up through the Department of Public Health and the Coimbatore Corporation a massive initiative to ensure Coimbatore City and surrounding areas remain diseases-free in the run-up to and also during the meet.

Experienced in handling A (H1N1) influenza cases in the summer of 2009, the public health apparatus is put in a state of extreme preparedness to handle such cases because of a spurt in occurrence in the neighbouring State of Kerala.

The Department of Public Health began an anti-mosquito drive on May 17 in the towns along the city's borders and the Corporation intensified its ongoing efforts within the city.

Outbreak

With the conference being held during the South West Monsoon, the public health machinery wanted to prevent an outbreak of diseases such as chikungunya, dengue and malaria caused by mosquito-borne viruses or parasites.

“The mosquito density is very low and therefore there is no possibility of large-scale occurrence of such diseases,” Deputy Director of Health Services S. Senthilkumar said.

“We also appointed 75 workers for fly control also.”

The department put on the field 56 Health Inspectors to carry out this task. Five senior entomologists and 20 entomology assistants deputed from across the State were also involved.

Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam constantly followed-up on the initiatives in and around the city and held a detailed review meeting towards the end of May.

He said the government had allocated Rs.8 crore to the Health Department for carrying out various measures, including chlorination of drinking water in and around the city. “The chlorination level is being checked every day,” Dr. Senthilkumar said.

On its part, the Coimbatore went in for a long-term investment whose use was to begin during the conference. It procured 60 mobile toilets at Rs.3.46 crore.

After being located at the conference venue, the procession route and other important event-related places, these toilets will be used after the conference also to ensure hygiene across the city.

Coimbatore Mayor and Chairman of the conference's City Development Committee R. Venkatachalam said, “The toilets will be used wherever a large assembly of the public takes place in future. These ozonised toilets will be a significant part of our efforts to ensure hygiene in the city hereafter.”

As for the conference period, Rs.35 lakh had been earmarked for appointing 315 conservancy workers on a contract basis in order to keep the city clean.

Health posts

The health official said two health posts had been put up at the conference venue. One had five beds and the other three.

All diagnostic and life-saving equipment and drugs would be available. Specialist doctors and paramedical staff would also be posted.

“Private hospitals too have offered to establish separate wards. If anyone attending the conference falls sick, they can be admitted to these wards, apart from the one at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital,” Dr. Senthilkumar said.

A 108 ambulance each would be located at the two health posts, the conference venue and the media centre. Seven ambulances would be ready to manage emergencies on the floats procession route on June 23.

Nine medical teams would be posted at the places of stay of VIPs and important delegates.

Six mobile teams with ambulances would be posted on approach roads to the city to assist those staying in and around the city.

Each ambulance would have a doctor, a nurse and a technician.

A medical control room would operate from the Collectorate from June 21 to 28. It would have doctors to co-ordinate with the stationary and mobile teams.