BHUBANESWAR:With the Director’s post of Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar lying vacant for the last three months, the eligibility prescribed for the crucial position has raised eyebrows given the profile of the job.
The umbrella body, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has sought to recruit heads for nine of its national as well as regional institutes. Of them, the institutes at Dibrugarh and Bhubaneswar are regional centres and with similar profiles.
However, it is the different eligibility criteria for the Director posts for these two institutes which has raised the heckles as it may lead to dilution of the position and affect the focus of the institute’s work in the State.
While ICMR prescribes that essential qualification for Director of RMRC, Dibrugarh should be MD in Medicine/Preventive and Social Medicine/Microbiology/Pathology with 15 years experience in the field, the criteria for RMRC, Bhubaneswar marks a significant departure. Anyone with an MD in General Medicine, Microbiology, Medicine Genetics, Community Medicine, Respiratory Medicine/Infectious Disease or a PhD holder in(Biotechnology/Microbiology/Zoology) with 15 years experience can apply for the Bhubaneswar position.
The incorporation of PhD as an eligibility is what makes many feel will affect operation of RMRC. In past, all Directors either held an MD degree or a PhD with MBBS.
“Given the public health profile of the State, RMRC’s role is significant since it has contributed significantly to research areas of various diseases and epidemics. A Director with a PhD degree may not do full justice to the position because he or she will not have a broad-based view of health sector,” said a Health Department official.
Though issues of infant and maternal mortality are of critical importance to the State because of its poor indicators, the eligibility criteria does not mention either paediatrics or gynaecology as a subject.
Experts point out that since RMRC, Bhubaneswar is not a specific subject institute such as NIV or NIN, the Director’s position is key since the head has to coordinate with the State Government and work in areas which are of priority so far as public health is concerned. “The current specifications may have been an exercise to undermine the criticality of RMRC, Bhubaneswar and would dilute its importance in the years to come,” sources added.