Showering huge accolades upon those eminent doctors who stayed back and did not opt for greener pastures in the most trying and difficult circumstances, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Saturday urged them to take another lead in creating a corpus of fund for those poor people who cannot afford expensive medical treatment. He also stressed upon involvement of faculty and students in building institutions so that patients do not have to travel outside and are provided the best healthcare within the state. “I promise you that GMC Srinagar, which has done such a commendable job in the past, will remain the centre of my attention,” he assured. The Chief Minister was addressing a large gathering here at SKICC during the Annual Day function of GMC Srinagar, where he was the chief guest. Due to unprecedented floods of September 2014, the Annual Day of GMC could not be held last year as the medical college and its associated hospitals remained largely inundated. Minister for Health & Medical Education, Choudhary Lal Singh, Principal, GMC, Srinagar, Dr. Rafiq Ahmad Pampori, the entire faculty of the medical college as well as former principals and galaxy of renowned doctors were also present on the occasion. Mufti Sayeed made a fervent appeal to the non-resident doctors of the state working in different parts of the world to contribute liberally to the fund corpus. “I have also taken up the matter with the Union Government at the highest level so that transfer of donations by J&K doctors for this noble cause is facilitated,” he added. Handing out an assurance to the medical fraternity in providing conducive atmosphere for healthcare sector, the Chief Minister said the poor desperately need a level-playing field in quality treatment. He said a large number of poor people approach him for medical aid under CM’s Relief Fund and he is not able to provide the required assistance to all in view of limited resources. “Poor people who are required to undergo kidney transplant, open heart surgeries and procedures for management and treatment of terminal illness like cancer have no access to expensive medical treatment,” he said, while pointing out the significance of creating a corpus fund for such patients. Crediting GMC Srinagar for producing eminent doctors who have distinguished themselves in the field of medicine here and abroad, the Chief Minister reminded the premier health institution of the monumental task ahead of them in closing wide gaps, especially in rural health and advanced medical-care sectors. He said the transition of GMC from a modest beginning, when it started functioning in a few rooms in 1959, to a proud institution of eight associated and one super speciality hospital today has been astounding. “I hope GMC Srinagar will continue to serve people and set new standards in quality healthcare,” he stated. Referring to the fillip the healthcare sector is receiving, the Chief Minister said the state is going to become a hub of tertiary medical care facility in near future with 2 AIIMS, 5 new Medical Colleges and two Cancer Centres being established. “I hope the Health Department continues its endeavour to extend quality healthcare facilities to the remotest and far-flung areas of the state,” he said and stressed upon upgrading the district health institutions as Model Hospitals on a pilot basis to avoid unnecessary referrals. Expressing hope that J&K will become hub of knowledge and excellence in not too distant a future, Mufti Sayeed referred to the major strides made in health infrastructure for which the state would require services of highly-trained and experienced doctors. “I want some of our eminent doctors who have made a mark internationally to consider returning to their roots,” he exhorted. Asking the faculty members to brace up for stiffer challenges ahead, Mufti Sayeed said he was sure that with determination and resolve the state will be able to improve existing healthcare facilities. He also emphasised upon nourishing the healthcare sector by creating effective linkages between the primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions. “GMC Srinagar shall continue to be the mother health institution and occupy prominence as a prestigious medical training institute and hospital,” he stated. Ever since its inception in 1959, GMC Srinagar has churned out more than 5000 doctors with MBBS degrees and 1400 postgraduates. It also has produced 6000 paramedics and continues to be the backbone for providing human resource, particularly in Rural Health Services. Some of the doctors produced by GMC Srinagar have carved out a niche for themselves abroad, especially in UK, US and the Gulf. Laying emphasis on strengthening the academics, Lal Singh, in his address, said post unprecedented floods of 2014, most of the old and damaged equipment has been replaced by modern machinery with liberal funding from the Centre. He credited the doctors for bringing down the mortality rate, which is now far lower as compared to the national average. “We will ensure that all medical colleges in the state are run professionally so that the best possible patient-care is provided to the people,” he added. Dr. Pampori, in his address, said GMC is one of the largest tertiary care institutions in the state which has set high standards in research. He said as many as 50,000 surgeries are also being performed every year. “We treat nearly 17 lakh patients yearly and our mortality rate is as low as 2.09 per cent,” he said, while thanking his staff in making the college functional only after a month of last year’s colossal floods. Dr. Kaiser Ahmad and Dr. Pervez Shah also spoke on the occasion. They listed some of the achievements of the college in academic and co-curricular activities and suggested various measures to the Chief Minister for improving the profile of healthcare sector. Some of these include creation of a corpus fund for carrying out research, enhancing standard of human resource by improving patient-doctor ratio, engaging bio-medical technologists for operating state-of-the-art medical equipment and timely career progression of the faculty members. Earlier, the entire faculty of GMC Srinagar was introduced to the Chief Minister and Minister for Health & Medical Education. The Chief Minister also released the annual college magazine, highlighting the achievements and activities of the institution. Also present on the occasion were Dr. Manzoor Halwai, Vice Chairman, CASS Union, former Principal GMC, Dr. G. Q. Allaqaband and former Principal SKIMS Medical College, Dr. M. Afzal Wani.
2015 Kashmir Despatch