The state health department joined hands with the Centre-run National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped (NIOH) to improve orthopaedic treatment facilities in the four medical colleges in the city and for rehabilitation of permanently disabled persons.
A joint venture agreement in this regard between the officials of the health department and the NIOH has been finalised in a meeting held on Thursday at NIOH at Baranagar. Officials present in the meeting included health department special secretary Shyamal Basu, principals of the four medical colleges and heads of the physical medicine department.
Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra is said to have initiated the move, worried at the “sorry state” of orthopaedic treatment facilities in medical colleges and the growing number of patients.
According to health department officials, NIOH will provide modern equipment required to treat orthopaedic patients and provide training to doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. There will also be regular academic exchange programmes between specialists from the medical colleges and NIOH experts for upgradation of treatment. The NIOH, officials said, would also provide accessories like artificial limbs, wheelchairs and walking aids.
The health department, in its turn, will work to improve basic infrastructure, provide sufficient space at medical colleges and manpower, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.
A joint committee has been formed, headed by Basu and NIOH director Ratnesh Kumar, to monitor the work. The committee will implement programmes and maintain liaison with the state and Central governments. It will also organise workshops, seminars and awareness campaigns.
“Our move is aimed at improving the entire orthopaedic treatment set-up. The joint venture with the NIOH will allow us to provide state-of-the-art facilities for orthopaedic treatment at medical colleges,’’ Basu said.
He said diseases related to bone were not cured only by medicine. Physiotherapy is of utmost important. For this, modern equipment and trained therapists are required. The government, he said, was not in a position to provide the necessary funds. “As NIOH has agreed to provide equipment and training for physiotherapists, the arrangement will help provide better treatment,’’ Basu said.
According to officials, hundreds of people become permanently disabled and need rehabilitation. As the government cannot help all of them, most patients look to social organisations, which donate aids for the challenged. “The entire sector will be benefitted if we work jointly,’’ Kumar said.