By The Editor

For the last few years there was much debate in Meghalaya Assembly on the need for medical colleges in the state because as it is there is a great shortage of doctors to cater to health care with the number of patients increasing. Those who can afford go to reputed hospitals outside the state to seek treatment. Government officials and retired government employees enjoy government facilities extended to them not only within the region but also outside for specialised health care. Most affected are the poor who have to rely on whatever facilities available within their reach including traditional medicines. From time to time various governments had given assurances to start medical colleges, at least in the capital city of Shillong with its booming population, but so far it did not bear fruit at all due to many constraints.

Nevertheless, impediments are to be overcome at all costs and what is needed are will power and determination. Public cooperation is highly essential in whatever manner possible and should not be mere spectators. J. Ogden Armour said: “Most men talk too much. Much of my success has been due to keeping my mouth shut”. Obviously, those who are in power cannot afford to keep silent but they should also try to implement what has been assured because government is a continuous process. Amidst gloomy uncertainties, rays of hope appeared on the cloudy horizon when management authorities of the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM) announced on October 23, that MBBS classes in PA Sangma International Medical College and Hospital will start from August 2025. Twenty days back on October 3, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, son of (L) P A Sangma, laid the foundation of esteemed institute construction which is expected to be completed by July 2024. Next immediate step is commencement of hospital activities by October 2024 followed by the first batch of MBBS students from August 2025. Management is scouting for talented doctors from three different viewpoints: patient care, teaching and research.

During the initial two years, experts will be involved in health care seminars, work- shops, conferences and training sessions organised by USTM. There will be collaboration with health care institutions and doctors from different states of North East (NE) and outside the country. Medical college and hospital will have 250 bed-capacity provided with the latest technological facilities and according to its mission treatment and care will be completely free for the poor. Moreover, the service is entirely for people of Meghalaya which is really unique. New institution hopes to attract patients and students from ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asian Nations) countries. More than 50 eminent and well-known doctors participated. Valuable suggestions and inputs were received which will prove beneficial in future.