Odisha Lags Far Behind Other States In Medical Colleges; Know Why

Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha government insists on giving top priority to health services, the state remains far behind in the number of medical colleges for delayed initiative in this regard.

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With India lagging far behind in ensuring health services to the people both in government and private sectors, developed states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu seized the opportunity after liberalisation of economy and opened the health services to the private sector. As a result, those states now have medical colleges which are almost double the number of the total districts. On the other hand, Odisha is yet to get one medical college in each district.

According to the data furnished by Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar in Rajya Sabha in December last year, Maharashtra has 30 government and 33 private medical colleges for its 35 districts.

Similarly, Rajasthan has 21 government and 9 private medical colleges for 33 districts, Gujarat has 23 government and 13 private medical colleges for 33 districts, Tamil Nadu has 38 government and 33 private medical colleges for 38 districts.

Compared to this, Odisha has 11 government and 4 private medical colleges which account for half of its 30 districts.

The reasons for Odisha lagging behind other states is not far to seek. According to Dr Sridhar Kadam, regional director, Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), unlike these states, Odisha allowed private medical colleges to open much later. While other states began the process before 2000, Odisha opened the door of health sector to private players after 2005.

“As a result, other states got a pool of medical professors well ahead before establishing hospitals at below the district levels. But Odisha continues to struggle in getting medical teachers for its newly opened colleges forcing it to depend on outsourcing or contract hiring from outside at a higher cost,” said Dr Kadam.

It may be noted that health services being a State subject, it has remained a neglected area for the Central government. It was only in 2014 that the Centre sanctioned funds for opening 157 medical colleges. It announced to provide 60% cost of the infrastructure for the medical colleges in the states.

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