Times of India
28 April 2011
By D Madhavan
A fortnight ago, when an employee of Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur was bitten by a viper, she had to be taken 32km to the Government General Hospital (GH) in Chennai for treatment.
The woman survived but not all victims in the suburbs are as fortunate. But such problems are likely to see an end as a state–ofthe–art poison treatment centre is coming up at the Government (Taluk) Headquarters’ Hospital in Chromepet. This is the first government hospital outside the city to have a specialised centre for the treatment of poison victims. At present, Chennai GH is the only hospital that handles such cases. "The centre is important as our hospital covers a wide area of about 60km, extending up to East Coast Road," said sources in the hospital.
Opened in July 1971 by chief minister M Karunanidhi, the hospital currently refers poisonrelated cases to Chennai GH’s Poison Control Training and Research Centre (PCT&RC), which was opened in 2007. Four doctors from Chromepet GH have undergone a month–long training session at PCT&RC.
"The specialised centre is a welcome move. With the increase in suburban population, more such specialised facilities in government hospitals are needed. Unlike the city, suburban residents rely on state–run hospitals, including primary healthcare centres and taluk hospitals," said E Karunanidhi, chairman, Pallavaram municipality.
Funded by the National Rural Health Mission and executed by the Tamil Nadu Health System Projects under the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, the six–bed centre is being built at a cost of Rs five lakh. "We have requested the health department for the equipment. By the time the equipment arrives, the infrastructure, including beds, will be ready. The centre will function on the ground floor of the main building," said sources.
The centre is part of the state government’s efforts to establish poison treatment centres in every district, a decision that was announced in mid–2008.