Friday, December 8, 2023

NEIGRIHMS needs advocates


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News that the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute for Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) is reeling from overload of patients with few staff and operation theatres. Being the only super-speciality hospital in Meghalaya and being patronised by patients across the region, the services provided by NEIGRIHMS are in great demand but there are some administrative structures that need to be remedied by the Union Ministry for Health & Family Welfare. Whereas IAS officers posted to the North East are paid special allowances and in the case of Meghalaya even their income tax is exempted, the doctors posted to NEIGRIHMS coming in from different states of the country ought to be appropriately compensated and incentivised, else why would they give up their positions elsewhere and come to Meghalaya where the best of educational facilities for their children are not available. Add to that the adverse socio-political milieu which does not favour so-called “outsiders,” so why would anyone want to stick their necks out? Over several years, NEIGRIHMS also has not had directors with the calibre to wrestle with the Union Home Ministry on a better deal for the Institution. The Director is best placed to be the advocate for the Institution in Delhi and to also manage the staff and faculty so that they give their best.
The present Director, Dr Nalin Mehta has his pulse on the problems and is trying his utmost to bring the Institute up to the desired level but he also cannot prevent doctors from leaving for greener pastures which the AIIMS, Guwahati seems to offer. What is visible here is the preferential treatment given by the Union Government to BJP-ruled states. NEIGRIHMS was started by the Congress Government and that could be the reasons for its neglect. Meghalaya being the host state, it is regrettable that successive governments never took keen interest in the affairs of NEIGRIHMS and have not played the role of staunch advocates of the Institute.
NEIGRIHMS was established by the Government of India in 1987 but by the time it could be set up and start operating from its own premises at Mawdiangdiang in 2007, much time had passed. Effectively therefore NEIGRIHMS has functioned as a full-fledged facility for about 15 years. The MBBS teaching programme started in 2008 and several batches of graduates have passed out from the Institute. What is needed now is a push to get the Union Health Ministry to turn its benevolent eyes towards NEIGRIHMS which has a lot of promise and is soon coming up with its Cancer Care wing amongst other Departments.

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