The government of Tamilnadu has set up a facility in Chennai, the state capital, for treatment of poison victims of any kind.
Called Poison Control Training and Research Centre, it has been located in the nodal government hospital. It can handle emergency situations like mass poisoning. It would not only offer treatment but also provide information services and counseling. An intensive care unit, a library, a museum, an antidote bank, and a decontamination room are among the other special features of the centre commissioned Sunday last.
State Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj announced that a certificate course would be offered to village health nurses at the centre and that in course of time similar centres would be set up in all district headquarters.
He also revealed that the state had registered about 20,000 cases of snake or insect bites last year and that during the same period 25,000 persons had committed suicide by consuming pesticide.
Ian D Simpson, an official of the World Health Organisation, who also took part in the Saturday's commissioning function, said half of the snake-bite mortality in the world was from India and hence indigenous knowledge on this subject had to be tapped more and more. The West was badly equipped on this front, he stressed.
Indian Environment Minister A. Raja regretted that only 5.2 per cent of the GDP was allocated to the health sector. The State Planning Commission's Vice Chairman M. Naganathan noted that even countries like Bangladesh and Nepal fared better than India on the health front.
The situation had to be fought in a determined way and more money would have to be devolved to the sector, he said.