We gave huge importance to health: Oommen Chandy

Source : IANS
Author : IANS
Last Updated: Sat, May 23rd, 2020, 17:55:22hrs

Thiruvananthapuram, May 23 (IANS) Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday recalled that during his tenure (2011-16) he gave maximum emphasis to the health sector and several of the programmes that were launched still continue now, while some of them have not been taken forward.

"We felt that it was not just a health problem, but a social issue and concentrated on improving the health sector. When we assumed office the allocation to the health sector was a mere Rs 166 crore and it rose to Rs 665 crore. Kerala, during our time stood first with a total score of 76.5. Today even though Kerala stands first, the total score is 74.01," said Chandy.

Chandy pointed out that his government started the cochlear implant surgery and fixed a target of 100, but later decided to carry forward the scheme and when demitted office in 2016, 640 surgeries were done, giving a new lease of life to kids aged below 5, who were hearing impaired.

"Our dream project was to ensure a medical college in every district and planned for 14 new colleges. But the present government was doing everything to close down a few, that we began, like in Idukki. They closed that, but later they have now opened it. At Thiruvananthapuram, a second medical college was cleared and staff were also appointed, but they closed it down. Had that been there, now we could have had a full fledged Covid medical college here, and that opportunity has been lost," added Chandy.

He said he started 2 new dental colleges and increased the total seats from 140 to 240 and after four years, the seats remain the same.

Numerous programmes of health care facility were started pertaining to better health care which includes opening of ayurveda and homeoeo hospitals and pharmacies. But in the present government's four year tenure, such things in these sectors have not happened. The Karunya health programme was a flagship programme of the then Finance Minister K.M. Mani and it turned out to be a succour for many. We had opened 50 Karunya pharmacies and today I doubt if any of that is there now," added Chandy.

Chandy also pointed out that during his tenure, he had created 5,000 new posts in the health sector and their Mrithasanjeevini (organ donation) was started.

"In that programme, 114 organ transplants were conducted. During our tenure, the first heart and liver transplant was also conducted. We started 80 urban health centres and the present Left government has so far opened just 12," added Chandy.

The then Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said that the liver transplant centre in the State-run Medical College hospital here, has by now been closed.

"Our aim was to turn Kerala into a medical hub and that's the reason why we wanted to have a medical college in every district. But the Left government played politics and did not go forward in a few areas where we had concentrated. The closing down of the second Medical College in the state capital is totally unacceptable, as we had done everything," said Sivakumar.