Special Correspondent

One `model hospital' in each Assembly constituency planned

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Government will meet the entire medical expenses of all the victims of Endosulfan poisoning in Kasaragod district, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy said here on Thursday.

At a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, she said the Government would reimburse their medical expenses even if they opted for treatment in hospitals outside the State. The district medical officer in Kasaragod would reimburse their hospital bills.

She said nearly 200 people in the village of Padre in Kasaragod district were afflicted with neurological disorders, congenital malformations, severe allergies, reproductive disorders, cancers and mental retardation.

The afflicted people lived in the neighbourhood of the cashew plantations of the State public sector Kerala Cashew Development Corporation, where aerial spraying of Endosulfan was going on for over a decade to control pests. The corporation stopped the use of Endosulfan in the area in 2001 when media reports linked the maladies to the pesticide.

The Minister said that ensuring relief to the affected people was one of the poll promises of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), which had now taken over the reins of the Government in the State.

She said the Government would turn one hospital in each Assembly constituency into a `model hospital,' where there would be no shortage of staff, treatment facilities or medicines. Absolute cleanliness too would be ensured at `model hospitals.' Hospitals to be turned into model ones would be selected from community health centres.

She said she would examine how the hospital development fund in each Government hospital could be put to effective use to ensure cleanliness.

The Government had with it a proposal to set up a separate department to attend to the welfare of women and children.

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