'Lack of specialists a handicap in treating rheumatic ailments'

Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare (Medical Education), M Lakshminarayana, has said that a staggering 20 to 30% of people in the state are believed to suffer from rheumatic ailments but there are just 32 rheumatologists to treat them.

He spoke at the launch of ‘Lupus- A Handbook’, a patient education initiative by the Indian Rheumatology Association in the city on Thursday. Following an informal discussion with members of the Association, Lakshminarayana said that the situation is no different in the country. There are just 1,000 rheumatologists in the country, he said.

“I am told that there are just 32 rheumatologists in Karnataka. Every person suffers from one or the other sort of pain at least once in a lifetime. The productivity of any person in pain will be minimal. If the specialists are so few, the poor cannot even have access to them,” he said.

Lakhsminarayana said that the medical college that was proposed in this year’s budget will be ready in a year’s time “The government will try to have a course on rheumatism introduced in the medical college. He added that the association was willing to partner with the government.

World Lupus Day is observed on May 10 every year. An awareness event was organised on Thursday. Lupus is an incurable auto-immune disease that affects mostly women during the child-bearing ages. It is characterised by joint pain, fatigue and rashes.

Meeting on NEET

Speaking on the sidelines of the event about the Supreme Court order on NEET, he said that a high-level meeting was being convened on Friday. 

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