Kerala: Health centres to stretch working hours till 6 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the wake of the growing fever cases and other communicable diseases in the state, the primary and community health centres have decided to extend their timing beyond 1 p.m. The change  has been made as per the decision taken at the all-party meeting convened by the government on June 23. Health centres at many places have started operating from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.   More  doctors, nursing staff and paramedical have  been deployed there.The CHCs and PHCs normally wind up services by 1 p.m. leaving the people, especially  in the rural areas, at the mercy of private clinics and hospitals.

The decision to extend the services  has come as a big relief to the people. With the government directing the local bodies to utilise the plan fund for increasing the staff strength, the local bodies have decided to appoint a doctor, a nurse and a paramedic each at primary health centres and two doctors, nurses and paramedics at the community health centres. The government has assured the local bodies that it would return the money utilised from the plan fund.

The doctors are reluctant  to serve in rural and difficult areas which has led to their shortage in such places.  Though the LDF government has created a number of posts in the health sector, including that of doctors and nursing staff, the strength is still low considering the huge patient rush. The health service department is facing a shortage of nearly 900 doctors, including assistant surgeons. The shortage has adversely affected the functioning of 1,250 health institutions, including PHCs and CHCs.

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