July 30, 2021 2:41:28 pm
The Tamil Nadu Health and Family Department along with the Chennai Corporation Thursday launched a drive to rescue mentally challenged homeless persons in the city.
The joint team rescued 35 people and admitted them to the Emergency Care and Recovery Centre in Tondiarpet. However, eight went absconding from the centre and the corporation is in the process of identifying them.
Meanwhile, psychiatric evaluation and RT-PCR tests were conducted on the rest of the rescued persons. “As 22 persons of the lot required medical attention, they are admitted to the recovery centre while the remaining five were sent to shelter homes. We will receive the results of the RT-PCR tests today (Friday),” a civic official said.
The corporation has around five shelters in the city, of which three are for men and two for women. If test results of the rescued people return positive, then as per protocols, the healthcare personnel will decide whether the person should be admitted to a hospital or kept in quarantine. If the test results return negative, they will be provided vaccination and further, handed over to a family member if they are able to find one or admitted to a shelter home.
On Thursday, addressing reporters after inaugurating the scheme, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Subramanian said the drive was launched on the directives of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin. He said DMK had implemented the scheme in their last stint and 1,830 people had benefitted from it. He added, “People who hail from other states were safely handed over to their families.”
“After coming to know about 400 mentally challenged homeless persons in Chennai and decided to implement the Emergency Care and Recovery Centre initiative. We identified two brothers in North Chennai. We rescued them and brought them to this centre,” he said.
Six buses have been deployed, two each in North, South and Central zones. Rescue teams and a psychiatrist would be travelling to each of these zones allotted to them. The health department officials said people are taken to the rescue shelter only with their consent and not by force.
They also said some of them raised concerns about the mentally challenged person’s privacy being compromised with so much media glare and hence in the future, they would be taking steps to avoid that.
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