His mission is family planning

WITH GOVERNMENTS trying to rein in the burgeoning population, here is a doctor from Bommidi near Dharmapuri who is doing his bit to popularise family planning.

Ilango, who runs a rural nursing home, performs free family planning (FP) operations on those below the poverty line in Pappireddipatti taluk.

Started in memory of his mother, Bhagyam, on January 1, 2003, the nursing home has come as big help to the rural folk here.

Says the doctor, "Though Pappireddipatti has five Primary Health Centres and one general hospital, it does not have an operation theatre for performing caesarean and family planning operations. As a result, patients have to travel either to the neighbouring district of Salem or the district headquarters of Dharmapuri for surgeries."

"The Deputy Director of Health Services, Sampath Kumar, approached me and put forth the idea of public-private partnership, which began on March 5, 2003. Till March 4, 2003, the hospital has performed 155 free FP surgeries," he said. Based on the partnership, the Government has agreed to meet the cost of the surgery on the condition that the services are offered free of cost.

According to Sampath Kumar, "He is the only doctor in the State to have entered into a partnership in which the Government has come forward to meet the cost of surgery by providing him Rs. 800 per sitting. The doctor is expected to do a minimum of three operations per sitting. In addition, the patients are provided Rs. 200 after the operation."

After approval from the Central Government, Rs. 150 would be paid per case for drugs and investigations, he said. The number of beneficiaries availing the service from the hospital has also increased significantly. After the free family planning surgeries were offered through public-private partnership, the number of cases has shot up to 1,018 between March and September 2003. Earlier it was merely 100 to 150 per year, he said. Out of the 3,007 sterilisation surgeries performed so far, 29 cases were vasectomies.

Besides this, the hospital has also been performing Caesarean operations free of cost to those below the poverty line with a financial assistance of Rs. 1,800 from the Government. The doctor has set an example on how medical practitioners could contribute their mite towards a social cause.

By S. Prasad in Dharmapuri

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