Infant deaths: Constrained health infrastructure continues at Attappadi
Palakkad: Every other case of infant death in Attappadi comes with pontification on remedial measures to curb the unceasing infant deaths in the region. Though the residents are fed up with such renditions, the story is still the same since 2013. The most recent case was reported on November 27. The residents have been demanding a proper solution for quite a long time now. However, the health infrastructure in the region remains constrained.
The residents are mainly relying on Kottathara tribal speciality hospital. The hospital was set up to provide better treatment for tribal residents. The health of carrying mothers and newborns is the priority of the hospital. Notably, the hospital has an expensive scanning machine for maternal check-ups. However, for scanning, parents have to wait till Sundays due to the unavailability of a radiologist. Or else, they have to rely on hospitals in Mannarkkad or Coimbatore, by travelling for around two hours. This led to aversion among carrying mothers to undergo scanning.
According to hospital superintendent Dr Prabhudas, a policy reform, considering the health emergency in the region, should be made to ensure the availability of radiologists on all days. At present, the post of MD Radiology is available only in medical colleges. Dr Prabhudas also said that an alternative measure is appointing a radiologist temporarily or by rejigging the work pattern.
Malnutrition and sickle cell anaemia require critical care. The tribals here are referred to other hospitals due to a lack of infrastructure. The situation demands the presence of medical professionals with work experience of 10 to 15 years. The government have to create consultant posts in general medicine, surgery, gynaecology and paediatrics.
The hospital is short-staffed in other sections as well. Though the speciality hospital was set up in standards of a taluk hospital, the present staff can only cater to a bed capacity of 52. The maximum capacity of the hospital is 172 beds. It is learnt that 150 to 200 patients are admitted at the same time, despite the absence of required staff and facilities. The hospital does not have facilities like CT scan lab, cardiology department, cath lab and cancer therapy.