They will be under the control of Director of Public Health

The State government has proposed to set up 135 primary health centres in small towns and cities with a population of less than one lakh. These urban PHCs will be under the control of the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, according to Principal Secretary, Health, Girija Vaidhyanathan.

She was speaking at the inauguration of a daylong summit ‘New frontiers in healthcare — opportunities and challenges,’ organised by Confederation of Indian Industry here on Saturday.

Although the State had done well in various health indicators compared to other States in the country, much more needed to be done to improve healthcare delivery when the State is compared to neighbouring Kerala or Sri Lanka, both of which had low infant mortality rates.

With a view to remaining focussed on improving the health of women and children, the government had created a database of 15 lakh pregnant women. Incentives to the women had been increased to ensure institutionalised deliveries.

Despite these achievements, the Health Department needed to gear up for tackling dengue and the State continues to face the challenge thrown up by malaria.

While the government proposed to set up regional centres for cancer treatment, she said there was potential to improve the health insurance scheme, the diagnostic facilities and concentrate on training and skill building.

The private sector should look to better their methods of contracting labour and explore options to provide affordable healthcare if the vision 2023 to build a healthy society should materialise.

The summit is being held to address the poor-rich divide in healthcare availability, said convener S. Chandrakumar. There were four panel discussions that included doctors from various corporate hospitals and heads of insurance companies.

Issues such as methods of achieving universal healthcare, use of technology to deliver services, need for accreditation to ensure quality and delivering healthcare at a low cost were discussed.

Tamil Nadu CII vice-chairman Narayan Sethuramon said that healthcare industry in India, which was worth $36 billion and growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent, would be a $280-billion industry by 2022.

The sector had the potential to be an engine of growth and create 70-80 million jobs and add two to three per cent to the gross domestic product.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National