Chennai

This primary health centre in Chennai’s New Washermenpet has been shut for six years

The primary health centre on Poondi Thangammal street has remained closed for many years

The primary health centre on Poondi Thangammal street has remained closed for many years   | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Residents say the centre was very useful for collecting medication and vaccinations, and that keeping it under lock and key was a waste of resources

In the midst of a densely populated residential locality stands a Primary Health Centre (PHC) that was shut down nearly six years ago. Thanks to the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), the single-storey PHC of Greater Chennai Corporation on Poondi Thangammal Street in New Washermenpet was closed, and remains unused as the mission allowed only one “dispensary” for every 50,000 population.

Poondi Thangammal Street, a residential locality off Surya Narayana Street, is home to several families including those residing in the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board tenements in the surrounding area. According to information on the building, the centre was constructed with funds from the constituency development fund of the then Member of Legislative Assembly of R.K. Nagar, P.K. Sekar Babu.

A cross-section of residents said that many of them regularly utilised the services of the PHC until it was shut down all of a sudden a few years ago. Many of them were unaware of why the facility was closed.

“I am a diabetic, and used to get medication from the PHC for nearly three years. But one day, the staff told me that the facility is going to close and that I would have to go to another PHC,” Babu, a resident of Poondi Thangammal Street, said.

Ashokan, a resident of Meenavar Colony, said there were around 5,000 families in and around the locality. “A number of mothers used to take their children for vaccination to this facility. It was close to our homes. Keeping such a facility under lock and key is a complete waste of money,” he said.

Officials of Chennai Corporation said the “dispensary” was started in 2009 and closed in 2014. The reason being as per NUHM, there should be only one dispensary for every 50,000 population. There was a bigger facility at Cherian Nagar that is three to four kilometres away and received a larger number of patients, an official said.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 7:19:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/this-primary-health-centre-in-chennais-new-washermenpet-has-been-shut-for-six-years/article30902679.ece

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