LDF stages walkout over collapse of health sector in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: CPI(M)-led LDF Opposition today attacked the UDF government in Kerala in the Assembly over the alleged collapse of the health sector, particularly in the state's tribal belt.

Even as the government tried to defend itself by stating that there was no dearth of medical facilities like medicines, doctors and para-medical staff, LDF members staged a walkout in protest against government's refusal to hold a discussion on the 'pitiable' condition of state-run hospitals.

Seeking an adjournment motion on the issue, VS Sunilkumar (CPI) lashed out at the government over the lack of facilities in medical centres.

Sunilkumar said that a 10-year-old girl at a tribal hamlet at Achankovil in Kollam district died after she failed to get treatment in time. "It is a disgrace for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and State Health Minister VS Sivakumar who asserts that everything in the health sector is perfect," he said.

"Her life could not be saved because she did not receive right treatment at the right time," he said. He also brought to the notice of the House the death of three infants born to a tribal woman at Wayanad allegedly due to lack of medical help.

Sunilkumar also mentioned about the increase in the number of child deaths in Attapady tribal belt area in the state due to malnutrition and said that 89 children had died in recent times.

Non-availability of medicines and shortage of doctors and paramedical staff was the biggest problem faced by government hospitals right from public health centres to medical colleges, he said.

Replying to the notice, Minister Sivakumar said after the government came to power, situation in health sector have ;improved. "This government has created more new posts for doctors and para-medical field," he pointed out.

The minister also challenged the Opposition to pinpoint a particular hospital where medicine was in-short supply. There was no shortage of any medicines especially life saving and for lifestyle diseases, he said.

On complaints of shortage of doctors, he said that the government still followed the staff pattern of 1961 when nearly 100 persons used to visit hospitals for treatment.

"Now the number of patients coming for treatment comes to around 500 and more," he said. To overcome this problem, the government has appointed more doctors by creating new posts, he said, adding poor response from medical graduates to join as government doctors was also another problem faced by the sector.

On medical college hospitals, he said the development works worth Rs 500 crore was progressing in these hospitals and step was on to set up a heart transplant institute at Kottayam Medical College hospital. After the minister's reply, Deputy Speaker Palod Ravi, who was in the Chair, disallowed the notice for motion leading to walkout by Opposition members led by their leader VS Achuthanandan.

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