The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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UK team ‘pleased’ with medical college

Calcutta, March 15: A three-member team of the British government’s Department for International Development today surveyed the infrastructure at Medical College and Hospital and apparently went back “pleased”.

Principal Jayshree Mitra said: “We spent a good three hours with them. They examined the paediatrics, gynaecology and obstetrics departments and seemed mighty pleased with what they saw.”

If the team’s positive response reflects on its report to the department, work to bring down mortality rates of children and mothers will begin in the hospital. The DFID would also help the government set up equipment worth several lakhs.

The British team is conducting a survey of the state’s healthcare facilities at three levels — primary, secondary and tertiary. The team will tour hospitals over the next two days.

British aid would be a further shot in the arm for the medical college, which is already being elevated to the standard of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. The Centre is planning to pump in Rs 100 crore to upgrade facilities at the college.

At the moment, 69 deaths out of every 1,000 births are reported in tertiary referral hospitals and the DFID’s effort is directed at bringing down the mortality rate to 40, which is acceptable internationally.

Another concern for the British team is the high maternal mortality rate, about 6.4 per 1,000 women. The aim is to bring down this rate to 2 per 1,000 through proper planning and treatment, from the primary health centres to the tertiary level hospitals in the cities.

The DFID team met Mitra, vice-principal and superintendent Robin Chatterjee and deputy superintendent A.K. Biswas.

Mitra said: “They told us that they wanted to bring down the mortality rate among children and women in Bengal and would offer suggestions to the government on ways to do it.”

The city’s only referral hospital for children, B.C. Roy Memorial, was in the news recently following 11 crib deaths in three days. About a year-and-a-half ago, 14 deaths were reported in 24 hours.

Authorities at the medical college are now gearing up for a training programme for medical and para-medical employees from all middle-tier hospitals in the state that would begin soon.

“The DFID team’s visit was very timely as we were also planning to take up training programmes for all our employees. We will set up sophisticated equipment in various departments, including paediatrics and gynaecology,” said a senior health department official.

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