THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Compared to other states, Kerala has a better public health infrastructure. But when it comes to assuring standards for quality healthcare, the state is yet to evolve into an exemplar. The state’s Achilles’ heel in the public health sector is the thriving business of clinical labs and the medical diagnostic centres. While many complaints had been raised against underqualified technicians and lack of laboratory safety at such centres, the Health Department says the full-fledged implementation of the Kerala Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act will bring remarkable changes.
“The act that came into effect in January mandates the registration and regulation of clinical establishments from all recognised systems of medicine in the public and private sectors. It includes modern medicine, Ayurveda, naturopathy, homoeopathy, Siddha and Unani,” said Dr S Krishnakumar, secretary, Kerala State Council for Clinical Establishments, adding, “At present, the provisional registration of clinical establishments in modern medicine is progressing. Very soon, the registration of establishments in other streams will also get started. The permanent registration will only commence after two years.”
According to him, in between these two years, the department will frame standardisation for clinical establishments and basic qualification for staffs there. Only those establishments that meet the parameters will be provided with permanent registration. Those that are left out will get closed down.
Meanwhile, the Health Department authorities said the provisional registration of clinical establishments in modern medicine which was first started in Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram, later spread to Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Wayanad and Kasaragod. In the remaining districts, registration began on Saturday.
“There is a state-level committee headed by the Health Secretary and there is a district-level committee headed by the respective District Collectors. There are also several subcommittees for all recognised streams which will discuss and chalk out standardisation for various sectors. The draft report of the minimum standard for western medicine is due for submission,” said a Health Department officer.
A member of the Kerala State Council for Clinical Establishments said the act alone is not the panacea and it’s only in the implementation stage that the real problems will come to the fore.