Patients upset over plans to shift Tenkasi leprosy clinic to Tirunelveli

Image of a leprosy patient used for representational purpose only.

Image of a leprosy patient used for representational purpose only.

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After Tenkasi district was formed, space for a leprosy clinic was provided at the office of the Joint Director of Medical Services in the district headquarters hospital in Tenkasi district.

Image of a leprosy patient used for representational purpose only.
Image of a leprosy patient used for representational purpose only.

Leprosy patients and their attenders allege the management of the Government Headquarters Hospital in Tenkasi district is planning to shift the leprosy clinic back to the Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital, and this will inconvenience them. Some of them have sent complaints in this regard to the Chief Minister’s helpline via email and post.

After Tenkasi district was formed, space for a leprosy clinic was provided at the office of the Joint Director of Medical Services in the district headquarters hospital in Tenkasi district. This was done based on directions from the district’s former joint director of health services. Tenkasi district has about 200 leprosy patients with disabilities, a source in the hospital said.

Ramesh*, son of a patient and one of the complainants, told TNIE the centre in Tenkasi is very close to the bus stop, so he only needs to catch one bus to reach the facility to get tablets for his mother, who was diagnosed with leprosy a month ago. But if the centre is shifted, it would require an inconvenient journey of at least six hours because road work is underway on the Tenkasi-Tirunelveli highway and in Tirunelveli city, he alleged.

Kumar*, another complainant, said he was diagnosed with leprosy six years ago and has deformities in the hands and legs. He pointed out that it would be difficult to travel so far without an attendant even for routine check-ups. “Due to my deformity, health workers in the village used to deliver tablets at home. They did this amid the pandemic too. But now, I have been told to come to the hospital and collect the tablets,” Kumar said.

In the complaint, the patients pointed out that they would have to travel about 150 km to Tirunelveli to reach the leprosy centre there. Meanwhile, Dr Ventaka Rengan, Joint Director of Health Services, Tenkasi district, told TNIE patient care would not be affected. Patients need not go to Tirunelveli district. They will continue to get medicines and other supplies from the Tenkasi district headquarters hospital itself. A skin doctor is there to attend to their needs, he said.

Will have to travel 150 km, say patients
In a complaint sent to the Chief Minister’s helpline, patients pointed out that they would have to travel about 150 km to reach the leprosy centre at Tirunelveli. However, the Joint Director of Health Services, Tenkasi district, said patients won’t need to go to Tirunelveli

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