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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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CIMA Gallary

Eye on elderly health

- Five clinics to come up in districts next year

State Health Society, Bihar, plans to set up five geriatric clinics in as many district hospitals next year to provide better facilities to senior citizens.

These clinics are not the first in the state — six of them have been functioning in the districts of West Champaran, East Champaran, Rohtas, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur and Kaimur since last year, albeit with a manpower crunch.

Set up under the Centre’s National Programme for the Health Care of the Elderly scheme, the clinics have a geriatric ward and an outpatient department. People who are 60 years and above avail of free diagnostic facilities and medicines at the clinics.

N.K. Mishra, programme officer, State Health Society, Bihar, said: “The geriatric clinics will be a boon for the elderly. They are prone to several ailments and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension. They also experience psychological problems. But many elderly people do not get proper treatment, as their pension is not enough to bear the medical expenses.”

According to experts, there are around 10 million people above the age of 60 in Bihar.

Mishra added: “The five districts where the geriatric clinics and wards would be operational are yet to be decided but the facilities would start before the next financial year, most likely by mid-February.”

While the central government provides funds to set up the clinics, State Health Society, Bihar, is entrusted with the responsibility to plan, implement and monitor the clinics and wards.

Its officials said the Centre had released around Rs 4.19 crore to establish the clinics last year.

The officials hope the new clinics would get a good response, as the earlier clinics have not yet succeeded in providing quality healthcare to the elderly.

A source in the health society said: “The geriatric clinics and wards that were started in the six districts are faced with a manpower crunch. A good number of employees left their jobs but we have recruited more people.”

On the facilities that would be available at the clinics, Kumar Sourav, programme manager, State Health Society, Bihar, said: “The geriatric clinics would be equipped with machines for conducting electrocardiogram (ECG) and ultrasound apart from having non-invasive ventilator (administration of ventilator support), trans-electrical nerve stimulator (to stimulate nerves for therapeutic purposes) among others to screen diseases. The geriatric wards will have 10 beds. Check-ups for conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure would be administered at the clinics. There would be six employees for every clinic.”