Six government medical college hospitals in Uttar Pradesh are to be modernised and converted into super-speciality institutions along the lines of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, said at Kanpur today that the high disease burden of UP, which also has the largest population among India’s states, has influenced the decision to add two more colleges to the already cleared list of government medical colleges for upgradation under Phase 3 of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). “I attach high priority to UP and have been here twice already in my three month-long tenure. As I had been a medical student in Kanpur, I happen to know that the need of the hour is to expand the infrastructure at an unprecedented rate because we have to make up for many years of neglect,” the Health Minister said.
Kanpur’s Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial (GSVM) Medical College, is the Health Minister’s alma mater. He was a MBBS and MS student here between 1974 and 1983. This medical college’s upgrade is to be put on the fast track as it is servicing a huge population with no comparable facility anywhere in and around Kanpur, stated the Minister. Apart from this one, the Sarojini Naidu Medical College, Agra also joins the PMSSY list. The four already under the third phase of the programme are the ones at Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Meerut and Jhansi. Earlier, the Institute of Medical Sciences at Varanasi, the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute at Lucknow and the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College at Aligarh have been upgraded under PMSSY. Under PMSSY-3 the central and state governments contribute on an 80-20 basis for establishing tertiary healthcare facilities by upgrading the existing facilities. The Health Minister held a meeting today in Kanpur circuit house with the UP government’s Principal Secretary (Medical Education), Mr B.S. Bhullar, the Special Secretary (Medical Education), Dr Arindam Bhattacharya and the Director-General (Medical Education), Prof. K. K. Gupta. Mr Sundeep Nayak, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, was also present. Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, former Union Minister and now MP from Kanpur, met the Minister and requested him to raise the standards of GSVM Medical College. Its present bed strength is 1619. Every year 190 MBBS and 113 MD/MS and 9 DM/MCh students pass out. “I have decided not only to release funds under PMSSY for Kanpur, but also include it under other schemes like National Cancer Control and the Infectious Diseases Control Laboratory programme of the Department of Health Research,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
It was a walk down memory lane for the Minister as he was visiting his alma mater after many years. He was felicitated there by the students, faculty, nurses, employees and, most significantly, former faculty members many of whom had been his own teachers. Dr Harsh Vardhan paid floral tributes at the statue of the freedom fighter, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, after whom the government named this college, the first to come up in UP after Independence. He addressed a large gathering at the auditorium. His message to the students was simple and direct: “In the true GEMS tradition follow the footsteps of your predecessors who are now excelling as doctors all over the world. Show respect to seniors and give love to your juniors.”
Accompanied by the faculty, Dr Harsh Vardhan took a walking tour of the hospital. He saw the workings of the modular operation theatres and registration system, the OPD area, departments of Paediatrics, Ophthalmology and ENT. The Minister also inspected the Institute of Neurology and the recently set –up Orthopaedic Centre and checked out its facilities and OT. He personally examined a few patients and entered their names in the register of the ENT Out Patient Department. The students had contacted him earlier with the request that he spare some time to visit their hostel. Dr Harsh Vardhan readily agreed as it gave him a chance to return for a glimpse of the rooms in which he had stayed through his student years. “I saw that the condition of the hostels is not good. I will try my best to allocate some money for giving it a facelift and carry out some repairs,” Dr Harsh Vardhan added.
Afterwards, the Health Minister held consultations with other employees of the hospital and took stock of the land availability in the campus for upgrading it to the super-speciality level. He reminded the officials that given Kanpur’s space crunch, it may be difficult to get enough land for a well-spread campus and hospital. “I would urge the authorities to go in for maximum floor-area utilisation. The upcoming super-speciality hospital should be a vertical structure to accommodate as many patients, visitors and faculty as possible,” Dr Harsh Vardhan added. Later in the day the Union Health Minister addressed doctors of Kanpur city working in the government and private sector organised by the IMA College of General Practitioners (Kanpur sub-faculty). Dr Harsh Vardhan urged the medical community of the city to work hard in the area of preventive health with special emphasis on reducing maternal and child mortality rates. Given the resource crunch, it is imperative to reach for out-of-box solutions in order to achieve “health for all” in society, he stressed.