What ails GMC Baramulla?

Authorities must step in to make the institute grow before it is too late
"Four years after its establishment, the situation has not improved, and the college is struggling to keep up with the demands of medical education."
"Four years after its establishment, the situation has not improved, and the college is struggling to keep up with the demands of medical education."Special arrangement

In 2019, people from all sections of the society were thrilled after the first batch of MBBS students was started at Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla. The move raised expectations among people that the establishment of the Medical College will be a game changer in the health sector in north Kashmir.

At the time of its inauguration, the government termed the move as a milestone towards healthcare infrastructure of Baramulla district and it as stated that every effort was being made by the administration to build an inclusive and robust healthcare delivery system at all levels of healthcare.

But, the college has failed to meet the expectations of the public. The matter of fact is that the Medical College was established by simply changing the signboard of the district hospital Baramulla to GMC Baramulla, which has resulted in a lack of facilities, faculty, and administration inertia.

Four years after its establishment, the situation has not improved, and the college is struggling to keep up with the demands of medical education.

The patient care in its associated district hospital has been improving for the last some months, but at the same time there has been no sign of improvement in the Medical College.

The students of GMC Baramulla are unhappy with the quality of education because of the dearth of required staff. The institute also sans requisite infrastructure which a GMC should have after four years of its establishment. The college is understaffed due to which the faculty members are overburdened. The students are struggling to keep up with the pace of their studies due to the shortage of faculty.

The administration of GMC Baramulla has also been a major issue. The lack of coordination between the authorities and the faculty has resulted in a lack of focus on improving the quality of education.

Principal GMC Baramulla Dr. Ruby Reshi however argues that there were no administrative issues but some vested interests are trying to "tarnish the image of the institute."

On reports of her absence in GMC which delays several policy decisions and results in maladministration, mismanagement within the college which have hindered its growth and development, Dr Ruby Reshi says she can't remain present in her office everyday because of different official engagements.

"It is not like I don't attend my office daily and do not remain present during the working hours, but I cannot remain present in the office the whole day as I am at such a position where I am supposed to attend several meetings during morning and evening hours. Otherwise I remain available in the office. There is a lobby of doctors who are peddling their lies because they do not want this GMC to flourish," she said.

Even after the four years of its establishment, the authorities are yet to make its buildings fully functional. The government needs to take immediate action to improve the overall functioning of GMC Baramulla and overcome the impediments coming in the way of smooth functioning of the college.

Principal GMC Baramulla admitted the dearth of faculty in the college saying that steps are being taken to address the issue. "Whatever is possible at my level I am doing that. Recruitment of Senior and Junior Resident is in my domain which is being done. We have taken up the matter with the government regarding recruitment of other staff as well," she said.

In November last year, the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla said that the strengthening of the health sector, particularly the GMC Baramulla was on the top priority list of the administration. She had said there were some crucial issues which needed to be addressed at the institute for which several communications were sent to the health and medical education department as well.

The government is very well aware about the issues creating impediments in smooth functioning of the college. The incumbent commissioner secretary Health and Medical Education Department (H&ME) has also served as Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and is well versed with issues and concerns related with the functioning of the GMC Baramulla.

Some priority areas which need to be addressed include increase in the funding wherein the government should provide more funding to GMC Baramulla to improve the facilities and infrastructure. This will help the college to meet the needs of the students and faculty.

Besides, the government should hire more faculty members to reduce the workload of the existing faculty and improve the quality of education. This will also help to attract more students to the college. The fact is that almost all the new GMCs are facing dearth of faculty. For example, the Department of General Medicine in GMC Srinagar has 37 sanctioned faculty positions while only eight are in Baramulla. So the enhancement of posts at all levels at GMC Baramulla is the need of the hour to improve the functioning of the college.

The government should expedite the work in order to upgrade the infrastructure and ensue completion of all the incomplete works to avoid any mess and chaotic situation which has become order of the day at GMC Baramulla. The pace of construction is so disappointing that some blocks are yet to be handed over to the GMC despite missing several deadlines.

The government should investigate reports of mismanagement and take action against those responsible because the GMC needs an efficient and transparent administration to function effectively.

Besides, the government should also focus on the emergency section of the GMC where the footfall increases with each passing day.

To conclude, GMC Baramulla is struggling to meet the expectations of the public due to a lack of facilities, faculty, and administration. The government needs to take immediate action to overcome these impediments and improve the overall functioning of the college. This will not only benefit the students and faculty but also improve the quality of healthcare in the region.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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