By: Bushra Baseerat
A day after the Union Cabinet gave the go-ahead for bifurcation of the state, experts said that the healthcare sector in Telangana, barring Hyderabad, is weak and crumbling unlike in Seemandhra where medical colleges are evenly distributed.
“Andhra region has well-developed medical facilities up to the taluka level. There are 1,021 primary health centres (PHCs) in Seemandhra, while Telangana has only 613,” said an expert. They also added that bifurcation would not have an adverse impact on healthcare in coastal Andhra as most doctors from the region working in Telangana might head back home after the split.
Highlighting the necessity of improving medical infrastructure, doctors said there are only five medical colleges in the 10 districts of Telangana – Osmania, Gandhi, Kakatiya (Warangal) and two RIMS colleges in Adilabad and Nizamabad. In contrast, the nine districts of coastal AP have seven medical colleges while there is one government medical college each in all four districts of Rayalseema.
Experts said it is necessary to start new medical colleges in Telangana so that it can be brought at par with Seemandhra. “It is time they establish five colleges in the remaining districts of Telangana and two colleges in Singareni Collieries areas including Mancherial and Manuguru,” said an expert.
Regarding the number of medical seats, there are 6,200 MBBS seats in AP (2,300 in government colleges and 3,500 in private colleges) “There are 1,300 MBBS seats in Seemandhra, which outnumbers the 1,000 seats in Telangana,” said Dr K Ramesh Reddy, member, Medical Council of India.
However, doctors hailing from Andhra said there is a huge gap between the two regions in terms of the number of beds and sophisticated infrastructure. According to Dr Ravi Raju, former director of medical education, who is now based in Visakhapatnam, Pet Scan is not available anywhere except in Hyderabad. “Latest MRI scans are also available only in Hyderabad. Quality cancer facilities too are lacking elsewhere in the region,” he said.
At the same time, experts such as Dr A Y Chary, former superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, said that people from Andhra are enterprising and would build their own infrastructure soon. “They will try to develop their own infrastructure in another five years. It’s a good stimulus for Andhra region to develop. The government has to hasten and things can drastically change,” he added.