An eight-year struggle for a permanent Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) dispensary in Avadi has finally materialised. But the last hurdle — clearance from the Union Health Ministry — is yet to be crossed.
In 2006, conceding to beneficiaries’ demand, CGHS established an outpatient department on a temporary land alloted by the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF).
With around 10,000 beneficiaries and strategically located on Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road, the dispensary catered to DRDO employees and civilians working in the army.
The dispensary has on its roll five doctors and a pharmacist. A cardiologist and geriatrician visit twice a week.
For five years the dispensary functioned from an unused building and after scores of representations from senior citizens’ organisations in 2011, the HVF agreed to allot 4,000 sq. ft. of land to build a dispensary-cum laboratory facility.
“Around 4 years back, we got the Centre’s permission but subject to financial clearance, which was delayed. Two months ago, when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited the city, we managed to get an audience with him,” said a pensioner who had been involved in the struggle.
T. Sadagopan, whose 86-year-old father is a beneficiary, said: “Every month, I request doctors to refer him to a local doctor as otherwise they would send him to the GH or to K.K. Nagar dispensary. He would then have to travel at least 25 km and spend around Rs. 2,000 for tests,” he said.
It would be a blessing if a dialysis centre set up as there are quite a few beneficiaries who require dialysis and are sent to empanelled hospitals elsewhere in the city, he added.
Though the hurdles have been cleared, pensioners are cautious.
“The next step is for the HVF to write to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which will forward it to CGHS. We have been fighting for laboratory services too, but there are running costs such as appointing technicians,” said a member of CGHS Avadi Ordnance Factories & Allied Establishments Pensioners Association.