KERALA

`Provide better medical care for the poor'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Nov. 24. The Chief Minister, A. K. Antony has stressed the need for providing better medical facilities to indigent patients by making use of the high charges levied on the affluent patients.

Inaugurating the 5th update programme of Paediatric Cardiology, Ped Heart-2002, organised by the Paediatric Cardiology wing of the Medical College Hospital here today, Mr. Antony said the latest technological developments in the medical field should be used for the benefit of the poor. While marching forward with technological developments, care should be taken to see that the indigent patients were also provided high quality medical facilities, he said.

Mr. Antony appealed to give special focus on research and the current status of congenital heart diseases and early detection of cardiac ailments.

Mr. Antony said the State Government would do all possible help for providing better medical facilities for the poor.

The activities related to the Kerala Heart Foundation as well as the programmes for the betterment of minimum standards of health in the primary and secondary health sectors in the State were being speeded up and would be completed at the earliest, he said.

He stressed the need for specialist intervention of experts to keep the infant mortality rate below 10 and to combat with the new challenges in the health sector. He urged the authorities of the Sri Chithra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences (SCTIMS) to take a lead role in the health care sector in the country and give more stress on applied research in cardiac research.

In his address, the director of the Madras Medical Mission, K. M. Cherian, dealt with the techniques in cardiac surgery and suggested that the cost of paediatric cardiac surgery should be subsidised by increasing the cost of adult cardiac surgery. He said that only very few heart ailments were being diagnosed and managed properly.

Speaking about the Barker hypothesis, V. Ramankutty of the Health Action for People, said that babies with low birth-weight were prone to heart diseases, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. These low birth-weight babies, if fed aggressively and thereby gained weight would also lead to various other ailments, he said.

Papers on various scientific topics were also presented.

The principal of Medical College, P. C. Kesavankutty Nair, the director of the SCTIMS, K. Mohandas, the Health Secretary, K. Ramamoorthy, and others spoke.

An interactive session in which experts answered on areas such as management of shock, hypertension and cardiac surgery was also a part of the update programme.

As many as 250 cardiologists, paediatric cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and cardiac pathologists from various parts of the country took part in the programme.