INTERVIEW| Facilities upgraded for research and to tackle cancer, heart attack cases: MaSu 

Cardiologists have been instructed to research heart attacks, says Health Minister Ma Subramanian in an interview to TNIE.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

CHENNAI: Increasing incidence of cancer and heart attack will be a major concern for health department in the coming years.

Cardiologists have been instructed to research heart attacks, says Health Minister Ma Subramanian in an interview to TNIE.

How did the government manage rise in Covid-19 cases and fever cases due to influenza subtype virus,H3N2 this year?
In March, the Union Health Ministry wrote a letter to the states that influenza virus was spreading and the states should take control and preventive measures. Immediately, the health department organised medical camps on March 10. We announced around 1,000 medical camps, but conducted 1,586, including mobile camps. Apart from that, camps are conducted in schools. Now there are no cases, and also zero deaths due to influenza virus.

From March 10 to April 26, the state conducted 68,591 medical camps of which 43,215 were in schools and 25,376 were conducted through mobile medical units. In these camps 27,03,897 people were screened and 13,705 fever cases and 58,732 cough/cold cases were diagnosed. All are doing fine after treatment. Also Covid-19 vaccination coverage helped in controlling the spread. Around 90 % of the population developed immunity to the virus. Though Covid daily cases crossed 500 in the third week of April, now cases have started falling. A few deaths have occurred only in the elderly and people with comorbidities.

What are the challenges for the health department in the coming years?
As Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former chief scientist, WHO, said, we have to live fighting with viruses. Heart attack cases and cancer incidence are increasing. The state is upgrading the Government Arignar Anna Memorial Cancer Institute in Karapettai, Kancheepuram into a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for cancer treatment, training and research. For heart attack prevention and treatment, cardiologists have been instructed to do research to know the cause.

There are allegations that recruitment of doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff has come down. 
In the last year’s budget it was announced that 4,308 people would be recruited through Medical Services Recruitment Board (MRB) and the government recruited over 2,000 people. Now interviews are conducted for doctors and pharmacists posts. We are going to recruit 1,021 doctors out of around 25,000 who had applied. In this year’s budget, it was announced that 4,133 doctors, nurses and paramedical staff will be recruited.

So, we have been recruiting around 4,000 people a year for the last two years. Earlier, the government recruited people mostly on contract or outsourcing basis and not through MRB. We are following proper procedure in recruitment. 

Primary health centres and health sub-centres are considered the backbone of providing primary health care services, especially maternal and child health services. Will introducing health and wellness centre concepts that focus on speciality services affect these primary services?
No,it will not affect maternal and child health and other services. We have developed a strong infrastructure in the comprehensive emergency obstetrics and newborn care centre. The government is focussing on developing infrastructure in all hospitals.

Of 11 new medical colleges officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, five are yet to be opened. Ramanathapuram and Tiruppur district medical colleges will be opened soon. Nilgiris medical college will be opened by June end and  Nagapattinam medical college will be opened by May 15. Namakkal medical college will be opened in another two to three months. All medical colleges will start functioning before August.

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