Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Ward-wise health and sanitation committees will be formed immediately to make healthcare awareness programmes more workable in case of communicable diseases, Minister for Health P.K. Sreemathy said here on Tuesday.

She was speaking after a meeting with medical officers and public representatives of areas most affected by the recent jaundice outbreak here.

She said immediate steps in this regard would be taken in Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kollam, where the need for preventive care had been found most urgent. The Government would release Rs. 10,000 for each of the 800 wards in Alappuzha, and a daily report of healthcare activities would be sought.

Water supply

For Ernakulam, no long-term plans were announced by the Minister to check recurring water-borne diseases such as jaundice and typhoid. However, the District Collector was asked to take steps to provide water in areas where there was scarcity.

Health officials pointed out that inadequate water supply which made people use illegal methods to tap water from pipelines was one of the root causes of contamination of drinking water. This, along with absence of underground sewage systems, was found to be the main reason for water-borne infections in the district.

All primary health centres would be given Rs. 25,000 for fogging or meeting other requirements in taking preventive steps against communi- cable diseases.

As much as Rs. 50,000 would be released for maintenance of health centres and taluk hospitals and making emergency purchases of medicines.

For the management of rural hospitals, health and family welfare societies would be set up with representation from the local area.

For the district-level hospital, a society would be formed for the management, under the chairmanship of the district panchayat president. The Collector would be co-chairman.

Purchase of medicines had been brought under a separate package, which would give more flexibility for local purchases, she added.

With regard to vacancies, Ms. Sreemathy said 1,500 nurses were appointed to fill them up. Any vacancy notified would be filled up immediately.

However, vacancies of doctors were yet to be filled. Only 115 of the 254 doctors selected had joined so far.