The long-pending demand of the people of Purvanchal for good healthcare is about to be met. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Gorakhpur to people on December 7. He laid the foundation stone of Gorakhpur AIIMS on July 22, 2016.
It is not just the people of Purvanchal but also of Bihar and neighbouring Nepal who would benefit from Gorakhpur AIIMS. Many of them have to go to Delhi AIIMS for treatment; those who lack resources are forced to spend time on the footpaths of the capital in scorching heat, chilling winter, and heavy rains. Others have to depend on corporate hospitals.
Earlier, the politics of Purvanchal, a backward region, revolved around caste and religion. However, two leaders, PM Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath found the status quo unacceptable.
Yogi, who represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha, raised the demand for setting up an AIIMS in Purvanchal several times in Parliament right from 1998. His voice, however, was heard only in 2014, when Modi took over the reins of the country. AIIMS in Gorakhpur is the result of years of Adityanath’s efforts.
Many surveys and studies show that low expenditure on health pushed the vulnerable sections of population below the poverty line; it also happened to the people of Purvanchal.
The out-patient department (OPD) of Gorakhpur AIIMS, costing about Rs 1,012 crore and spread over 112 acre, was inaugurated in February 2019. At present, the OPDs of 16 departments are functioning. The 300 bed hospital will start functioning and the capacity will be extended to 750 beds.
The lack of health facilities in Purvanchal was a result of neglect by political parties. For nearly four decades, encephalitis has killed thousands of children here every year. Governments kept changing, but healthcare didn’t. In 2017, the scenario changed when Adityanath became the Chief Minister. He waged a war against encephalitis; the epidemic was controlled. PM Modi will also dedicate Regional Medical Research Center established at BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur to the nation. The nine labs at the Centre will work on effective testing and research on Japanese Encephalitis. This state-level virus testing lab will conduct research on Covid-19 as well as on other viral diseases.
Now there are two AIIMS operating in the state—in Gorakhpur and Raebareli.
Raebareli AIIMS got approval in 2007, but due to lack of political will its operation got delayed. After the Modi-Yogi duo took charge, both AIIMS were established with world-class facilities.
The country’s second largest cancer hospital, Mahamana Cancer Sansthan, also opened in Varanasi.
But the Yogi government is not content with these achievements. It is working on the goal of One District One Medical College. At least one medical college is functional in 59 districts of the state; the programme is in progress on the public-private partnership or PPP model in 16 districts.
The foundation stone of the first Mahayogi Guru Gorakhnath Ayush University was laid in Gorakhpur and the construction has started. Ditto with the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University in Lucknow.
In order to give relief to the people from medical expenses, 6 crore 47 lakh people have been given insurance cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat) in the state. Along with this, insurance cover of 42.19 lakh people has been ensured under ‘Mukhyamantri Jan Arogya Yojana’.
The Yogi government is working on comprehensive development of health education. As many as 938 MBBS seats have been increased in the state; permission to increase 900 seats from the Central government is likely to be received soon. As many as 127 seats have been increased in MD and MS. The retirement age of doctors has been increased from 60 years to 62 years. Along with this, affordable and quality medicines are being made available through 1,104 Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
Thanks to the efforts of the Yogi government, today Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences is at 5th, Banarus Hindu University at 7th, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow at 9th and Aligarh Muslim University at 15th in NIRF’s India Ranking.
Owing to the progress made in healthcare, the Uttar Pradesh government under Yogi managed the Covid-19 situation better than other states and even many European countries. It also leads in the Covid vaccination drive. It has become the first state in the country to have provided one dose of vaccine to 16 crore people and both doses to more than 5 crore people.
It is the result of CM Yogi Adityanath’s pledge of public welfare under the guidance of PM Modi that today Uttar Pradesh has achieved success in providing high-quality health services to its people at their doorstep.
On December 7, Modi will give another gift to Gorakhpur: he will inaugurate a Rs 8,603 crore new fertilizer factory.
Politics is not just about spiritual accomplishments for the saints of Gorakshpeeth but also a means for public welfare. Yogi has proved this.
Dr. Mahendra Kumar Singh is a Senior Columnist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, DDU Gorakhpur University. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.