UAE group transforms flood-damaged health centre in Kerala to India's largest

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on July 21, 2021

Supplied photos

Facility in Malappuram district expected to serve 200,000 patients annually.

UAE-based VPS Healthcare has reconstructed a government primary health centre in the south Indian state of Kerala, which was in shambles after the 2018 floods, and transformed it into India’s largest family health centre.

The Rs100 million (Dh4.92 million) three-storey centre on 15,000 square feet is equipped with advanced technology, lab, 10 beds with oxygen concentrators, mini operation theatre, emergency room, and features an open gym and play area for kids.

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director, VPS Healthcare, said the state-of-the-art facility comes as part of ‘Rebuild Kerala’ initiative by the state government. The Keralite underlined that the facility in Malappuram district is a new model for a family health centre established by combining 15 years of his experiences in the UAE, region and other countries.

“The experiences gained through these years have come in handy for us during the mission to reconstruct the family health centre at Vazhakkad. Primary and family health centres form the foundation of Kerala’s very efficient healthcare ecosystem. When we took on the challenge of rebuilding the primary health centre, we saw a great opportunity of presenting a new healthcare model to the government and people of Kerala. We decided to equip it with the most advanced technology of a tertiary hospital,” Dr Vayalil told Khaleej Times.

“And importantly, we have combined the concept of wellness with health with a larger purpose of enhancing the well-being of the people. We believe that our endeavour would serve the purpose and inspire upcoming projects.”

Dr K. Sakeena, district medical officer, Malappuram, said the old facility could tend to 75,000 patients annually, and the new centre is expected to serve 200,000 in the rural area.

“This figure underscores the significance of the centre in the lives of the people here.”

Dr Sakeena noted that community members were longing for the accomplishment of this project.

“The reconstruction of the ruined health centre was our dream. The centre will strengthen our relentless efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The facility is in line with the Kerala government’s Aardram Mission, a project launched in 2017 to upgrade primary health centres as family health centres.

Rajeev Sadanandan, the state’s former additional chief secretary (health and family welfare), said the initial plan of the Aardram Mission was disrupted in some places by the 2018 floods. It was then VPS Healthcare stepped in.

The new centre has adopted a modern structure developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) and designed by a group of students from the School of Architecture and Planning at Government Engineering College, Thrissur.

Dr Vayalil said the centre is a success story of a strong government will and cohesive efforts of the community members, experts and brains of educational institutions.

“The participation and involvement of people from various walks of life have added value to the project, and the result is visible.”

The centre has a modern imaging department, a stabilisation unit to attend to patients suffering from low oxygen saturation, defibrillators, a vision and dental care clinic, pharmacy and conference hall.

The foundation stone was laid in February 2019, and work completed in July 2020. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the centre on Saturday.

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