The government will work towards getting Central sanction to start DM courses in sub-specialties such as anaesthesia to bring down the deficit of qualified specialists, Principal Secretary (Health) V. K. Subburaj said on Sunday.

Inaugurating a workshop in connection with World Anaesthesia Day celebrations hosted by the Department of Anaesthesiology, Stanley Medical College, Mr. Subburaj noted that there was an increasing demand for sub-specialisation in critical care disciplines such as neuro-anaesthesia, paediatric anaesthesia and cardiac anaesthesia.

“The government will be happy to forward proposals in this regard and work towards getting them approved [by the Central body],” he said.

Pointing to the acute dearth of specialists countrywide, Mr. Subburaj said the Tenth Plan's documentation of the shortage of anaesthetists as the single major reason for maternal mortality rates still held good now. Even in a State such as Tamil Nadu with a health manpower ratio better than the national average, the number of specialists was inadequate to cater to the demand, he said.

Though the 125 Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (CEMONC) Centres had been started to make basic services such as safe motherhood accessible, it was difficult to provide the triad of gynaecologist, anaesthetist and paediatrician at these centres, Mr. Subburaj said.

Being seized of this need for a multi-fold increase in the number of specialists in various disciplines, the State government had been engaged in raising the number of post-graduate seats in various specialities subjects, Mr. Subburaj said.

As a result, the number of PG seats had been increased from four to 14 in neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery and paediatric surgery, he said.

In his keynote address, B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, said India's Vedic heritage held the solutions to many of the challenges besieging humanity in the modern world, ranging across religious intolerance, racial discrimination, ecological degradation and terrorism.

The solution was not so much in repudiation of science or economic reform but in synthesising science and spirituality for promoting holistic human development, he said.

Mr. Vanavarayar presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to T. Srinivasan, former anaesthesiology professor at Stanley Medical College.

C. Vamsadhara, Dean, Stanley Medical College, launched a souvenir and A. Priya, medical superintendent, released a CD on the occasion.

R. Chandrasekaran, former professor of anaesthesiology, MMC, inaugurated the scientific session on advances in the speciality. R. Subramaniya Bharathiyar, anaesthesiology professor and head of department, Stanley, also participated.

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