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Govt seeks Rs 150cr for 24x7 trauma centre

Guwahati, Jan. 2: Assam’s health department has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking Rs 150 crore to set up the region’s first 24x7 trauma centre at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital here.

Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it would build a state-of-the-art trauma centre if the Prime Minister sanctioned the amount. He said setting up such a trauma centre was very important to save precious lives in the time of emergency.

The minister admitted that the lives of many people who met with road accidents and other disasters could have been saved in the past if there was an advanced trauma centre in the state.

Sarma, who was speaking at the inauguration of an emergency department at MMCH today, said his department was planning to launch a slew of healthcare schemes this year.

“Adults in the state will have an equal chance to fight the deadly Japanese encephalitis virus, as the health department has decided to inoculate them with the vaccine that is so far known to be effective only on children below 15. The mass vaccination drive will start on February 28. The drive is expected to be completed before Rongali Bihu in April,” Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of the function at MMCH.

The Assam government has been vaccinating children below 15 years of age in the state since 2006. It was subsequently found that although the children had become immune, adults were still prone to the disease and the death toll was high among them.

The government’s move came after the Regional Medical Research Council, Lahowal, under the Indian Council of Medical Research in Dibrugarh, established last year that the Japanese encephalitis vaccine was safe for grown-ups as well. “The vaccination drive will be the first of its kind in the country. We are procuring the vaccine from China,” Sarma said.

Listing other priorities in the field of healthcare in 2014, Sarma said the government would start work to set up model hospitals in 126 Assembly constituencies in the state. The model hospitals will be named after Mahatma Gandhi, he added.

The health minister said Assam has been able to reduce its infant and maternal mortality rates to a “good and impressive extent” in 2013. He said the initiative to reduce IMR and MMR would be more vigorous in 2014.

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