The government is in the process of setting up a palliative care grid in the State by involving all major stakeholders, NGOs and activists in the sector so that an integrated approach to delivering palliative care can be adopted, Health Minister K. K. Shylaja has said.
Replying to a question by Saji Cherian during Question Hour on day one of the 16th session of the Assembly on Monday, Ms. Shylaja said that setting up a network or grid of organisations involved in delivering palliative care will help the delivery of services in a coordinated manner.
The government has taken necessary steps to revise the State’s Palliative Care Policy formed in 2008. The draft was ready and would be formally released soon, she said.
Explaining the steps taken in the health sector to make public health institutions more efficient and people-friendly, Ms. Shylaja said that given the increasing number of new cancer cases being reported annually in the State, treatment facilities were being augmented in the public sector too.
Replying to a question by K. Babu, she said that oncology departments in all five government medical colleges had been strengthened with better infrastructure and equipment, and the government had created 105 new posts for various oncology sub divisions.
The State has formulated a Kerala Cancer Control Strategy in consultation with the WHO and accordingly, treatment protocols and standard treatment guidelines for various cancers are now in place.
Ms. Shylaja said joint efforts of the Health Department and the National Health Mission under Aardram Mission had resulted in a total transformation of primary healthcare delivery in the State.
Top 10 among the public health institutions deemed to be the best in the country by NITI Aayog were from Kerala, she said. Under Aardram Mission, 266 primary health centres had so far been converted to Family Health Centres (FHCs) where comprehensive primary health care services, including mental health care and treatment for lifestyle diseases, were delivered.
This year, 504 more FHC would be set up and 1,000 new posts for the same had been allocated. Secondary and tertiary care institutions were also being improved in the same manner.
Replying to a question by P.T. Thomas, Ms. Shylaja said the old Karunya Benevolent Fund (KBF) scheme would be continued till March 31 next.
All families with an annual income less than ₹3 lakh, but who are not eligible for health insurance coverage under Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhati can avail of the KBF benefits