Two New PHCs Adopted - Namakkal District
Updated: Aug 20
I was able to meet with the Nachipudur PHC physician, Dr. Vijayalakshmi, the block
medical officer (BMO), Dr. Vadivel, and the quality officer, Dr. Ramesh, to discuss the state of their PHC. Dr. Vijayalakshmi expressed that there has been difficulty getting labor ward equipment autoclaved at their PHC and that they have been using an autoclave at a nearby PHC as theirs has been dysfunctional. She also expressed that the electrical setup of the PHC could be more reliable with the installation of a UPS. Dr. Ramesh expressed that PHCs are often left insufficiently funded, and those who can afford private healthcare don’t opt to receive treatment at PHCs. He stated that PHCs offer comparable care to private facilities and that people need to trust these government-funded resources. He also states that getting prescriptions filled from PHCs rather than at private pharmacies is much more cost-effective and supports the government healthcare system. All of these discussions were immensely meaningful and will guide our activities in the future. This event concluded with a donation of medical equipment (as seen in the image), including sterile disposable gloves, surgical masks, fetal dopplers, glucometers, sphygmomanometers, digital thermometers, pulse oximeters, and stethoscopes.
I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Mekala, the primary physician at the Thirumalaipatty PHC, as well as many other staff there. The lady Panchayat leader of the region also attended our event and was able to speak with the healthcare workers. These conversations allowed me to gain perspective on the difficulties facing the PHC and the patients it takes care of. Major concerns included an autoclave that was not fully functional and needed to be replaced, asbestos in the ceiling, and an insufficient location for maternity education. Dr. Mekala brought us to the patient waiting room and pointed to the ceiling, which she said was unsafe in its current state. The material it was made out of contained asbestos, and the hot climate of the region made it very unsafe for patients to sit under. A roof replacement is likely necessary to protect the workers and patients of the PHC. I spoke with Ms. Kalarani, who worked at this PHC, and she expressed that many mothers who receive treatment at the PHC receive education on breastfeeding and delivery in close proximity to other patients making it uncomfortable at times. Building a separate maternal education ward will help alleviate this issue. These issues will be at the front of our minds as we continue to work with the Thirumalaipatty PHC. After meeting everyone and having a meaningful discourse, we officially donated equipment (as seen in the photos) to show our support to this PHC. Equipment donated include sterile disposable gloves, surgical masks, fetal dopplers, glucometers, sphygmomanometers, digital thermometers, pulse oximeters, and stethoscopes. We will be raising funds to do infrastructural work in the future and make this PHC flourish.
On June 12, 2023, I revisited the Namagiripettai upgraded PHC to deliver additional donations that were requested in the summer of 2022. We donated fetal dopplers, glucometers, sphygmomanometers, digital thermometers, pulse oximeters, and stethoscopes. The PHC was newly remodeled with a new outpatient ward about 500m away from the main road. As this is an upgraded PHC, funding and resources are greater than for the more rural, peripheral PHCs. This PHC had many essential amenities that other PHCs did not, such as a shaded patient waiting space, spacious wards, and up-to-date equipment. I was able to discuss these disparities with the block medical officer (BMO), Dr. Dayashankar, and concluded that CHF funding should be focused on more rural PHCs, which we have identified and will be adopting this summer. Although we will not be funding the Namagiripettai upgraded PHC anymore, they will continue to remain a part of the CHF community and a source of support for us.
- Janapriya Vijayakumar