Located about 25 km from the city in Anaikatti hillock, a highland in the Western Ghats where even the most essential of commodities is supplied only once a day, is a multi-specialty hospital that is providing healthcare, round-the-clock, completely free-of-cost to the tribal population of two States.

Established as an outpatient clinic in 2000 primarily to attend to urgent medical needs of Irular tribe people in the region by AIM for Seva Trust, the Swami Dayananda-Jayavarthanavelu Tribal Rural Hospital was upgraded in 2004 to a full-fledged hospital and is now being run by GKD Charity Trust.

According to its medical superintendent S.R. Subramanian, the 24-bed hospital has four full-time Resident Doctors besides several visiting specialists and adequate para-medical staff who cater to anywhere between 1,200 and 1,500 people every month from 50 villages in the region. Of these, half are in Kerala which is barely a couple of kilometres from the hospital. The hospital, he says, boasts a fully-equipped operation theatre, clinical laboratory, X-ray, ultrasound scan and labour ward.

Immunisation, dental care and ENT check is also done. A canteen has been set up for providing food free-of-cost to the tribal patients.

The hospital has also tied up with Aravind Eye Hospital in Coimbatore and takes the tribal patients free-of-cost for eye check-up and treatment.

Further, Dr. Subramanian says the hospital also takes part in all national health campaigns such as the polio immunisation, blindness control, family welfare and other such programmes.

C.L. Mohan Naarayan, vice-president of GKD Charity Trust, says this is one of the few out-reach hospitals with tele–medicine facility being run through satellite-based systems with the support of Indian Space Research Organisation. This is because the cable facilities were unavailable in the region to provide internet broadband support. It has been linked with GKNM Hospital in Coimbatore, he adds.

The Swami Dayananda-Jayavarthanavelu Tribal Rural Hospital is being supported by the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, which is providing it with bed grants for a total of 10 beds. Under this, the hospital is reimbursed the treatment costs for the 10 beds by the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP). S. Gunasekaran, Deputy Director (Tribal Welfare), TNHSP, visited the hospital on Sunday and assessed the facilities available.

It also conducts periodical medical outreach camps in surrounding areas including Attappady, a taluk in Kerala where several tribal infant deaths occurred reportedly due to malnourishment.

The hospital is planning to adopt a Hospital Information System to streamline its operations.