In a serious push to improve healthcare in medical colleges, the Naveen Patnaik government on Wednesday appointed 10 senior IAS officers as coordinating officers for 13 medical colleges, including seven upcoming institutions that are in various stages of construction. The officers were appointed “to improve overall performance, infrastructure development and functioning of the said institutions,” a statement issued by the CM office said.
The government sources said the senior officers concerned will be spearheading government efforts to address inadequacies in the existing medical colleges at Sambalpur, Berhampur, Balasore, Baripada, Balangir and Koraput and for timely commissioning of upcoming medical colleges at Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Jajpur, Angul, Kandhamal, Bhawanipatna and Puri. The SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack is the only government-run medical college that has not been assigned an IAS officer as its coordinating officer.
Development commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra has been entrusted with Sambalpur and Sundargarh colleges. Agriculture production commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra will look after Balasore and Berhampur medical colleges. Additional chief secretary (steel and mines) Raj Kumar Sharma will supervise Keonjhar college while forest and environment secretary Mona Sharma (Jajpur), women and child development secretary Anu Garg (Angul), revenue secretary Nikunja Dhal (Kandhamal), finance secretary Ashok Meena (Koraput), water resources secretary Surendra Kumar (Baripada), industries secretary Hemant Sharma (Bhawanipatna) and works secretary Krishan Kumar (Puri) are other officers appointed for the medical colleges.
Government sources said direct supervision of the medical colleges by senior officers will help improve infrastructure and make the healthcare process more efficient. The government move has evoked mixed reactions from the medical fraternity. “It is a welcome move. Many of the existing medical institutions are facing severe infrastructure, manpower and functional issues. Appointment of senior officers will help improve this. It is a welcome move,” said Sonamali Bag, who retired as director medical education and training.
A senior doctor in a medical college expressed doubts. “The health department already has four IAS officers (health secretary Pramod Meherda, National Health Mission director Shalini Pandit, managing director of Odisha State Medical Corporation Yamini Sarangi and additional secretary Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar. Deploying some more officers who are already overburdened with their others works may not make much of a difference.-Times Of India