Andaman urges Azad for holistic revamp of health infrastructure
Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Lt Gen (Retd) Bhopinder Singh has called for a holistic revamping of health sector in the remote Islands and wrote a letter in this regard to Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The Lt Governor has highlighted in his letter important issues such as immediate filling up of vacancies of specialist doctors and to increase their tenure from 90 days to two years, enhancement of allocation of MBBS and BDS seats and early approval for setting up of Medical College.
The Lt Governor urged the Health Minister to immediately fill up vacancies of Specialist Doctors by posting Specialist on regular basis.
He has stated that the Andaman and Nicobar Administration was facing acute shortage of specialist doctors.
'Out of 49 sanctioned posts of specialists, 38 are lying vacant for a long time. GB Pant Hospital, the only Referral Hospital itself has only 9 specialists from Central Health Services, out of the sanctioned strength of 22. Similarly, posts of specialists are vacant in other district hospitals and as a result patients are forced to travel to mainland hospitals for treatment,' Mr Singh added.
He, further, stated that the Ministry of Health has been posting specialists to this UT on 90-day rotation as an interim measure.
However, this was not serving the purpose fully as the tenure of 90 days is too short for doctors to settle down to provide meaningful specialist services and the follow up.
'Many of the specialists posted for 90 days are only GDMOs with PG qualification, without requisite clinical experience. These islands being remote, specialists from mainland are reluctant to serve here. To overcome the shortage of specialists in the long term, the Centre has been requested to provide few PG seats every year in Central Govt Medical Colleges for in-service regular GDMOs of A and N Health Cadre with an obligation to serve in the Islands,' Mr Singh added.
The Lt Governor has also requested the Union Health Minister for enhancement of allocation of MBBS seats at least to 40 and BDS seats to five.
He stated that for the current academic year 2012-13, the Ministry allocated only 15 MBBS seats which are absolutely insufficient to accommodate the meritorious and deserving students of these Islands, who would like to pursue medical education.
Since the admission to the current academic year 2012-13 for the medical or dental streams was closed on September 30, the Lt Governor requested the Unoin Minister to consider the genuine request of the Administration at least from the next academic year onwards.
The Lt Governor requested the Union Health Minister for according early approval of the MCI and the Health Ministry for setting up of a Medical College in A and N Islands in collaboration with the private partner (PPP mode).
He stated that the Central Govt after consulting the Medical Council of India had issued a notification in September 2011 allowing the UT Administration to use the existing government hospital as part of medical college.
Regarding permission to set up the medical college under PPP mode, it was stated that the matter was under consideration and the decision taken in the matter would be informed in due course.
He further stated that setting up of a Govt Medical College in the Islands was difficult in view of their remoteness and deploying faculty, as per MCI norms, seems to be another big challenge.