CHENNAI: The State Health Department had become a popular department mainly due to its management of the pandemic, which had direct impact on the lives of the people. The pandemic gave a tough time to reporters and health department officials. The numbers, official information and verification of the information available in the public domain before publishing – all were a significant part of health reporters’ daily routine.
So, reporters were assured that officials of the State Health Department including the Health Secretary were easy to contact. Unlike other departments, formal e-mails or appointments were not necessary.
Former Health Secretary Radhakrishnan also encouraged all officials at the directorate or district level to communicate with reporters, which made communication easier. Though cases of COVID-19 had reduced considerably till April, it has been surging consistently this month.
However, after recent transfers of officers, health reporters are wondering if access to officials would still be as easy as earlier. It’s not uncommon to receive cold responses or no response at all from officials in some of the departments of the State government. Reporters are hopeful that the new Health Secretary would maintain the communication bar, as it would ensure clarity in official communication for the reporters