Odisha is likely to have two more Government medical colleges under phase-III of the ongoing Centrally sponsored scheme for upgrading district or referral hospitals. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said the medical colleges will come up in the aspirational districts as the Centre is focusing on the development of health facilities in remote regions of the country that are deprived of even minimum standard of care.
Odisha has 10 aspirational districts, of which two medical colleges at Koraput and Balangir are already functional and the State Government has submitted proposals to set up two more medical colleges at Phulbani in Kandhamal and Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi. “We have decided to open 75 medical colleges in the third phase and most of these will be located in the aspirational districts of the country. Odisha Government has sent proposals for two medical colleges which are under consideration. Six medical colleges have already been sanctioned in earlier two phases,” he said.
“Of the 75 new medical colleges, 49 already have been sanctioned in the last four to five months. Preference are being given to aspirational districts and District Headquarters Hospitals having 300 beds to improve tertiary health infrastructure,” Dr Vardhan said.
The Union Health Minister urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to implement the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) - Ayushman Bharat in Odisha.
He said the national health protection scheme should be implemented as soon as possible so that the needy people of the State are not deprived of its benefits.
Stating that 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres will be developed under the scheme by December 31, 2022, Dr Vardhan said 25,000 such centres have already been set up and 15,000 will be ready by March 31 next year.
Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan also requested Odisha Government to accept Ayushman Bharat.
He said patients can avail cashless treatment upto Rs 5 lakh for critical diseases across the country under the scheme and the State should not deprive them of the benefits.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also requested the Chief Minister several times to implement the scheme. We expect the State Government will consider it soon,” he added.
Dr Vardhan was here to inaugurate patient care facilities, including modular OTs, 100-bed ICU complex, Cath Lab and Fluoroscopy at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar. He unveiled a life-size statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the hospital premises.
The Union Ministers were accompanied by members of governing body committee and MPs Aparajita Sarangi, Amar Patnaik and Anubhav Mohanty and MLA Suresh Routray.