Thiruvananthapuram: In its new health policy, the Kerala government has proposed to make vaccination cards mandatory for children seeking admission in first standard. The Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft health policy that was announced by Health Minister KK Shylaja.
The decision to make vaccination cards mandatory for school admission comes after vaccination programmes were faced with resistance from different quarters in Kerala with the most recent being the struggle to implement the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination programme in some districts, including Malappuram.
The health policy also states that strict legal action will be taken against those trying to discourage parents from getting their children vaccinated.
In another significant initiative, special clinics have been proposed for transgenders in taluk and district-level hospitals. There is also a proposal to include sex reassignment surgery for transgenders in the state health insurance scheme.
Shylaja said that though maternal mortality rate in the state is less compared to other states, the number still needs to go down and his government is making efforts to bring it down.
She added that a survey will be conducted in areas where maternal mortality is still more to find out the reasons and take corrective measures.
Also, standard treatment guidelines will be made mandatory for doctors at government hospitals and these will be applicable in private hospitals as well.
The new health policy further proposes a comprehensive trauma care facility at every 10 kilometre by co-ordinating the services of government, private and cooperative hospitals.
The government plans to improve facilities at trauma care units apart from training locals on trauma care and telling them “how to handle situations after an accident and how to provide first aid”.
In another announcement, the policy proposes a bifurcation of the state health department. In place of the existing Director of Health Services, the new policy plans to have separate directors for clinical services and public health while the Director of Medical Education remains.
Administrative autonomy will be granted to government medical colleges, which comes in the wake of principals and hospital superintendents complaining that they are not able to carry out administrative work effectively because of complicated procedures and lack of administrative freedom. The policy further promises to boost research activities in medical colleges.
The government has also proposed effective steps to check corruption among health officials apart from strengthening vigilance systems in hospitals.
The Kerala government has also promised to strictly enforce the ban on private practice of doctors.