Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Call for government medical colleges in Orissa

Merinews, Feb 10, 2009

Central government has upgraded five more medical colleges to the standard of AIIMS all over the nation. It has also sanctioned two more premier referral institutes on the lines of AIIMS, at Raiganj in West Bengal and in Uttar Pradesh..

IN A letter, Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik was urged to take new initiative to convert either VVS Medical College, Burla to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) standard or proposed a similar institution in backward regions such as for Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) initiated medical college in Jaring or Balangir.
Recently, Central government has upgraded five more medical colleges to the standard of AIIMS all over the nation. Central government has also sanctioned two more premier referral institutes on the lines of the prestigious AIIMS, one at Raiganj in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district and the other in Uttar Pradesh.

Despite high profile foundation ceremony for both the private medical colleges at Balangir and Jaring in Orissa before the election, they have not yet met the expectations even after five years. Situation of proposed private medical college in Balangir is worst among the three proposed private medical colleges through WODC initiative in Rourkela, Jaring and Balangir. In future, private medical college in Rourkela may be successful like in state capital region.

Though Orissa has severe shortage of medical professionals such as doctors and has less number of government medical colleges compared to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra etc, medical college is more than an educational institution for local people in backward pockets. It serves as a hospital for secondary and tertiary health facilities providing better service and facilities for local people in backward region, where finding good quality private hospitals like Apollo, Kalinga Hospital, etc is very difficult.

Private medical colleges and hospitals rarely meet what government medical colleges provide towards local health facilities to poor people who have little support to even travel to the state capital from Koraput, Kalahandi or Balangir regions or pay the required fees.

Keeping backward regions in mind, West Bengal government has proposed to establish similar AIIMS like institution in North Bengal, whereas Chhattisgarh government has established government medical college in Jagdalpur region. Similarly, Tamil Nadu government is establishing a medical college in Tiruvarur and Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments are focusing in other backward pockets in their states.

However, Orissa government has only initiated, through WODC, private medical college in backward and less deserved regions. It does not make sense, when state government is establishing fully government medical colleges in capital region such as Capital Hospital medical college, Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) medical college at the same time encouraging private player to open medical college in regions like Balangir, Kalahandi etc and as a result such institutions in backward places are struggling to meet local expectation even after five years, where as other proposed private medical colleges in Bhubaneswar region have already started their courses and hospital by this time.

In fact, it creates a wrong impression that Orissa state government is more concerned towards establishing government institutions in state capital region such as Law University, Capital medical college, ESIC medical college, Culture University, Ravenshaw University, IIT, NISER, WCCU, etc by ignoring other backward parts except consolation given to Kalahandi and Berhampur regions recently for their respective local demand for national institution since decades in the form of engineering colleges.

Orissa government should write to central government to establish a similar AIIMS type institution in KBK region or upgrade VSS Medical College to an AIIMS type institution along with completely taking out medical colleges proposed in Balangir and Jaring from private players.

Converting regional diagnostic centres at Baripada, Bhawanipatna, Koraput and Sundergarh to full fledge government medical colleges will be an excellent idea for the state government as these locations were chosen based on backwardness, tribal population and geographical requirements. Similar regional diagnostic centre in Capital Hospital has been converted to a government medical college. Indeed, it will serve in greater interest of the state along with present government medical colleges in Cuttack, Berhampur, Burla and Bhubaneswar apart from recently proposed medical college in Talcher/Angul by Central Coal Ministry which will be logically expected to be equivalent to government medical colleges.

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