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Union Health Minister lays foundation stone of Mon Medical College in Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: Feb 26, 2021 8:22 pm
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Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Neiphiu Rio and others arrive for laying the foundation stone of Mon Medical College on Friday. (PIB Kohima)

Timeline

  • September 4, 2020: Centre approved to upgrade District Hospital in Mon to medical college
  • September 15, 2020: Government of Nagaland signed MoU with the ministry of Health and Family Welfare for establishment of the college
  • February 26, 2021: Foundation stone for the college laid
  • 2023-24: The Medical College is slated to be completed by 2024
  • Cost of the project: INR 325 crore with central share of INR 292.50 crore.

Dimapur, Feb. 26 (EMN): Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan laid the foundation stone of Mon Medical College at District Hospital Mon on Friday.

The minister was accompanied by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, state Health Minister S Pangnyu Phom, Lok Sabha MP Tokheho Yepthomi and several dignitaries, according to an update from PIB Kohima.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union minister thanked the people of Mon for the “heartwarming” reception and conveyed the good wishes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Citing Modi’s commitment for the people of the Northeast, he said ‘so many good things are going to happen in the region on different fronts in the next few years’.

The laying of foundation stone of the new college “shows the commitment of the government to ensure that the people of the most remote and interior parts of the country are not deprived of development,” he said.

He congratulated the chief minister and Health minister of the state for taking proactive steps towards bringing the project into reality.

He informed that there are 562 medical colleges in the country at present, out of which 286 are in government sector and 276 in private sector. Mon Medical College is one of the 75 medical colleges approved by the Centre in 2019 aimed at improving the healthcare facilities in areas which have been deprived of development for decades, he continued.  

[Related story: Centre approves Medical College in Mon]

“Another 175 medical colleges are also in the process of development. Against 52,000 MBBS seats in 2013-14, there are now 84,000 UG seats. Several medical commissions are also being set up. Around 1,50,000 health and wellness centres have been set up in the country,” he said, adding that 370 such facilities are under progress in Nagaland.

Lauding the efforts of healthcare workers in combating Covid-19, Dr. Vardhan said India is ahead of many developed countries in the war against the pandemic with highest recovery rate and the lowest death rate. He also lauded the ASHA workers and urged the government to provide full support to such grassroots field workers and acknowledged the state government in tackling the pandemic.

While highlighting the significance of the Ayushman Bharat programme of the central government, he urged the state government to ensure that the Centre’s aim of eliminating tuberculosis by 2025 is achieved.

“India despite being a big country, if we could eliminate Smallpox and Polio, if India could survive Covid-19, we can definitely eliminate TB by 2025,” DIPR quoted the minister as saying. He went on to ask the government to reduce the maternal mortality rate, saying: “Pregnancy is a boon and not a curse.”

He further appealed to the people to contribute towards “a new India where there is a smile in all faces, where the children are safe and secure, where dignity of women is valued, where senior citizens are taken care of and proper healthcare for the poor is available, a country filled with humanism and nationalism”.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Neiphiu Rio and others during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Mon Medical College on Friday. (PIB Kohima)

Make the college a centre of excellence — Rio

Addressing the gathering, Neiphiu Rio said it was a privilege to be part of the historic occasion and thanked the prime minister and the union health minister for laying the foundation stone of the medical college despite his busy schedule.

He told the gathering that he “thought of doing something for Mon” when Kiphire was announced “Aspirational District”, and the opportunity came when the PM came up with the idea of setting up medical colleges in remote areas. He added that Mon Medical College is one of the 75 colleges to be constructed in various districts of the country where people have been deprived of development and health facilities.

He said the new medical college, once completed, will not only benefit Mon and Nagaland but also the people living in neighbouring states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and even Myanmar.

“On completion of the project, we should think of ways to attract people to work and study here, he said while urging the people to make the facility a centre of excellence.

Rio informed that the new medical college will be completed on a turnkey basis where only one company will execute all the work to ensure timely completion and that it will function in a public-private partnership (PPP or 3P) model. He appealed to the people, NGOs and CSOs to co-operate and support the project in order to make the long-cherished dream into a reality.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan is flanked by Neiphiu Rio, S Pangnyu Phom and others during the foundation stone laying function of Mon Medical College on Friday. (PIB Kohima)

Healthcare has improved but not enough

Addressing the gathering, Phom said that Nagaland has never had the privilege of having two medical colleges and the desire to establish such facility was not only to produce more manpower but also to enhance healthcare delivery.

He said that healthcare facility in the state was deplorable when it got statehood but it has improved over the years “although much is needed to be done”. As most of the private healthcare centres are concentrated in Kohima and Dimapur, he said people from other parts of the state are not able to avail proper healthcare services as public healthcare centres lack facilities and equipment.

However, he expressed confidence that Mon Medical College, once completed, will improve healthcare delivery in the region, informed an update by DIPR.

Let’s welcome development — MP

State’s lone Lok Sabha MP Tokheho Yepthomi said the dream of the people of Mon and Nagaland was made possible because of the dynamic leadership of the prime minister, Union Health Minister, Chief Minister and Minister of Health and Family Welfare of the state. He urged the people to support the project as well as “change our mindsets and welcome development with an open arm”.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan with S Pangnyu Phom during the foundation stone laying function of Mon Medical College on Friday. (PIB Kohima)

Project to cost INR 325 crore

Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare, Amardeep S Bhatia stated that the new medical college will cost INR 325 crore and 30 acres of land had been acquired for the facility.

The project will have a central share of INR 292.50 crore and is slated to be completed by 2023-24. The setting up of the new college in Mon, one of the most backward and farthest districts from the state capital, will help bring affordable healthcare services to the doorsteps of nearly 2.5 lakh people, it was informed.

It will be established under Phase III of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for “Establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals” and it will be the second medical college in the state after Kohima Medical College which is not operational yet.

Also speaking at the function, representatives of Konyak Union and Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation assured co-operation towards the completion of the project. Advisor of Social Welfare, Home Guards and Civil Defence, Noke Wangnao delivered the vote of thanks.

Chaired by Deputy Commissioner of Mon, Thavaseelan K, the programme was also attended by legislators, leaders of civil society organisations, medical fraternity and several other dignitaries.

Later in the day, Dr. Vardhan visited Longwa village which is situated on the Indo-Myanmar border.

The Union minister, who is on a three-day visit to the state along with his wife Nutan Goel, visited the Health and Wellness Centre at Naga United village and Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CISHR) in Dimapur on his arrival on Thursday.

He is also scheduled to visit the site of Kohima Medical College and Kohima War Cemetery on Saturday before leaving for Imphal, Manipur by chopper in the afternoon.

It may be mentioned that the Centre approved and sanctioned the new medical college in Mon by upgrading the District Hospital on September 4, 2020, before the government of Nagaland signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India for establishment of the college 11 days later.

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By EMN Updated: Feb 26, 2021 8:22:47 pm