Goa – home to one of the first medical colleges in Asia – wants to open a second facility in the state more than 170 years after its first college was established.
A medical school in Goa was first established in 1842 whilst the state was under Portuguese rule. The facility was upgraded to a medical college in 1963, becoming the Goa Medical College and Hospital. That facility was initially attached to Bombay University, becoming attached to Goa University in 1983.
The addition of a new medical school aims to expand the state’s medical workforce. State health minister Vishwajit Rane tweeted “subsequent to the central govt’s vision to increase no. of medical seats & bed capacity of hospitals, the Govt of Goa has decided to increase bed capacity of South Goa District Hospital to 750-800 beds & construct a medical college to boost the doctor-patient ratio.” The facility, if approved, will be established in the state’s commercial capital Margao. The medical college is awaiting Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to give his assent.
Goa is actually one of the best-performing states in India when it comes to doctor-patient ratio. It is one of just six states to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) prescription of one doctor for every thousand people, with one doctor for every 731 people according to The Times of India. Nonetheless, the state is keen to recruit more. “A new college will help us get more MBBS seats and more doctors,” Rane said, adding that it is currently unclear if such a facility would be publicly or privately run.
A push for medical colleges is underway at the national level too. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved the establishment of 75 new medical colleges in the next few years, adding 17,500 Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS) seats. “The establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals, would lead to an increase in the availability of qualified health professionals, improve tertiary care in the government sector, utilise existing infrastructure of districts hospitals and promote affordable medical education in the country,” said the government in a statement.