GUWAHATI, Feb 3 - The State government today said that many improvements have been made in the healthcare sector during last decade and half but admitted that the mismatch between demand and supply of doctors and other trained staff in hospitals will need some time to be covered.
Replying after a debate on voting on Supplementary Demands for Grants at the Legislative Assembly, Health Minister Dr Nazrul Islam said that there was a gap of over four decades between establishment of the Silchar Medical College and the Jorhat Medical College and during this period the number of doctors who passed out annually from the medical colleges in Assam remained the same.
“There would have been no crisis if more medical colleges had been set up at regular intervals over the years. But there was huge gap between establishment of the Silchar Medical College in 1968 and the Jorhat Medical College in 2009,” he said.
He informed that the first batch of 100 doctors from the Jorhat Medical College has graduated.
“We will be getting doctors from the Barpeta Medical College within two years and from Tezpur in another four years. Construction work is going on for the Diphu Medical College. A sum of Rs 189 crore has been sanctioned for the Nagaon Medical College and the foundation of the institute will be laid within this month,” Islam said.
He said that some issues related to land acquisition remain with regard to medical colleges in Lakhimpur and Dhubri, but the problem is likely to be sorted out soon.
“When all the 10 medical colleges (including the three old colleges in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Silchar) are fully operational, the requirement for doctors will be fulfilled,” said the Minister.
He added that steps have also been initiated for training more nurses and para-medical staff as well as for recruitment of Ayurveda and Homeopathic doctors. “Initiative has been taken to fill up vacancies in a phase-wise manner,” Islam said.
The Minister added that the Centre has sanctioned 116 model hospitals for Assam, but it will not be possible to start indoor services in all of them at this moment due to shortage of doctors and other staff.
The Minister said that the State’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) has gone down to 300 in 2014-15 compared to 480 in 2004-05, while the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has fallen to 54 in 2014-15 as against 68 in 2004-05.
“Hospital deliveries have gone up,” he said.
He said the 200-bed cancer hospital in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital will become operational soon and state-of-the-art equipment have been purchased for it.
Earlier, participating in the debate, opposition MLAs castigated the government over what they termed as poor state of healthcare in Assam.