BHUBANESWAR: Even as the three government medical college and hospitals of the State are crying for upgrades and the Centre is ready to assist, a complacent State Government is looking the other way.
Sources said the State Government is not making any effort to have a share of the Central assistance to improve condition of health infrastructure.
While states like Uttar Pradesh (UP) and West Bengal (WB) managed to get an AIIMS-like institution each and received special Central assistance for upgrade of their medical colleges, Odisha can’t see beyond the only AIIMS it got. So myopic is the State Government that it did not think it necessary to take up the issue during the recent visit of Union Health Secretary PK Pradhan. He had come calling to review the progress of AIIMS-Bhubaneswar works. The multi-speciality hospital is all set to become functional with admission of 50 students in August.
The NDA government had sanctioned six super-speciality medical colleges on the lines of AIIMS to as many states, including Odisha, under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakhya Yojana (PMSSY) in 2003. The five other beneficiaries are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.
The UPA Government while making budgetary provision for the six AIIMS, sanctioned by the NDA Government, also approved two more AIIMS-like institutions __ one each for UP and WB. While 26 government medical institutions had been approved for update, the Plan panel further approved an additional 30 medical colleges for upgrades under the PMSSY.
As per the 20-year time line set for consideration of medical colleges for upgrade, all the three medical college and hospitals of the State are qualifying. SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, was established in 1944, while VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, and MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur, were established in 1959 and 1962 respectively.
All the three fulfil the criteria fixed by the Centre for update, however, not one of them was considered.
The objective of the Central programme is to remove regional imbalance in the availability of affordable and reliable tertiary-level health care in the country and to augment facilities for quality medical education in the states. The Centre has budgeted ` 840 crore for each of the eight super-speciality medical colleges and ` 120 crore each for upgrade of the existing medical colleges.
The other major beneficiaries of the Central programme are Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.