This is in response to the article “Eleventh Plan and health care” by P.S. Appu (Nov. 24). The article carries valuable statistics and changes in the health care administration both by the State government and the Centre.

Health care in the rural areas is woefully inadequate. While all the reasons for the same are well known and addressed in the article, they are complex and multi-factorial. They require a radical new approach. A good suggestion was put forth in a public meeting by former Tamil Nadu Health Minister, Arcot Veerasami. He proposed that the primary health centres be run by local industries as their corporate social responsibility. That being the case, it will be possible to run the government-owned primary health centres as efficient private institutions. The responsibility for efficient functioning shall rest on the local private industry.

It is also time to consider reducing the total duration of basic medical education, including the internship, by 12-18 months. Only then will the compulsory rural service for a period of two years be accepted by young medicos. During their posting in the rural areas, they should be provided with a computer with Internet facility, to facilitate them being in constant touch with their peers and avail themselves of the goldmine of medical knowledge on the web. At this stage of their career, medicos are hungry for more learning and knowledge. The provision of such facilities will enable them, in many ways, to improve the quality of service they provide for people in rural India.

Dr. S.S. Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai

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