Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in New Delhi recently and requested him for an increase in MBBS seats in the three government medical colleges in the state. The three colleges have 150 seats each at the entry level, which the government wants to raise to 250. The chief minister also requested Azad for upgradation of the three colleges to AIIMS-like Institutions under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) along with sanction of Rs 432 crore for the purpose. Azad assured to consider Odisha's demand, but hinted at the precondition of meeting the infrastructure and faculty strength. "We have no problem in allowing increase in seats, but there are certain requirements like infrastructure and faculty strength," the Union health minister said adding "the Centre has always been in favour of adding more seats to colleges."
The state government's stand has been that of increase in MBBS seats would help in making more doctors, which would go a long way in meeting the state's healthcare needs. The government's intention, however, has not been reflected in action. Beside the acute shortage of doctors in hospitals, the shoddy infrastructure and staff deficiencies in medical colleges have always been questioned by the Medical Council of India (MCI) while according recognition. The MCI is the national nodal agency to approve the seat strength in any medical college in the country, be in government or private sector.
The three medical colleges are the lifelines of people in Odisha, over 65% of whom live below poverty line (BPL) and depend on them for treatment. But, senior officials in the health department here confided that there had been large number of vacancies existing in VSS Medical College, Burla and MKCG Medical College, Berhampur. The VSS Medical College has more than 70 posts vacant as against the sanctioned faculty strength of around 240. Similarly, in case of the MKCG, there are over 50 vacancies as against the similar approved faculty strength. Considering the deficiencies in faculties and infrastructure, the MCI has since been giving temporary recognition to the MBBS courses in these two government colleges. "The situation is better in SCB medical college but it is not completely free from staff and infrastructure shortages," said an official.
Source: Times of India