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What ails Calcutta Medical College? Ask website

Oldest medical college in Asia, but CMC has not maintained its website for 6 years
The fire in the Calcutta Medical College Hospital Wednesday.
The fire in the Calcutta Medical College Hospital Wednesday.
PTI file photo

Sanjay Mandal   |   Calcutta   |   Published 05.10.18, 10:07 PM

Calcutta Medical College and Hospital claims the title of India’s premier institute for undergraduate medical studies but does not have a functioning website to tell the world why it deserves that halo.

Proud alumni of the institute, founded in January 1835, speak of their alma mater as having a glorious history as a teaching hospital that deserves to be showcased. Most of the other top medical colleges across the country have interactive websites that highlight their capabilities to potential students and patients.

A website with the URL `www.medicalcollegekolkata.org` only displays the message “We are coming back soon” on a homepage with no other content. The page has apparently been defunct for six years since it was hacked.

Officials of several medical colleges across the country said their interactive websites had helped bring the best of students from other states, besides benefiting patients in terms of information and online appointments.

“Those who qualify in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) apply online to our college through the website. This makes the process of applying as well as choosing easier,” said an official of Christian Medical College, Vellore.

He said nearly 40 per cent of the institute’s undergraduate batches were from states other than Tamil Nadu.

Patients can also book appointments with doctors online through the website. “More than 30 per cent of our patients book online. We have a list of doctors with their credentials on the website so that patients can make informed choices,” the official said. “We have a dedicated team to manage the website and they constantly upgrade and update it.”

The website of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi showcases the research done there, besides providing the necessary details about faculty and doctors across departments.

Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, where names like Sir Ronald Ross and Upendranath Brahmachari worked, cuts a forlorn figure on this front.

The institute had been named Medical College of Bengal at the time of its inception in 1935. “We have submitted a proposal to the health department to give back the institution its original name. The department has agreed in principle,” said Abhijit Chaudhuri, former secretary of The Medical College Ex-Students’ Association, Calcutta.

So it is that the British-era MCH Building will be known to more people as the structure where a fire in a ground-floor pharmacy storeroom on Wednesday forced the evacuation of nearly 250 patients.

According to officials and alumni, a more apt description of the building would be as the place where an Ayurvedic practitioner named Pandit Madhusudan Gupta conducted the first dissection of a human body in India.

“It is the oldest medical college in Asia and some of the most illustrious researchers in medicine have worked here. We should have restored the website and highlighted this history. I am speaking to the ex-students’ association and college officials on how to create a new website,” said Asish Kumar Basu, the new principal of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

The health department had issued a circular to all state-run medical colleges in Bengal a year ago to upgrade their websites with details relevant to patients and students.



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