Srinagar, Nov 7: The government has taken a major step towards enhancing healthcare services in Jammu and Kashmir by increasing around 2000 medical seats. The move aims to address the shortage of doctors and paramedics in the Union Territory.
Several primary health centres (PHCs) are also being upgraded to the level of Sub-District Hospitals (SDHs) to meet Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) norms, officials said.
According to the Vision Document 2047 of the Health Department, cited by the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the objective is to ensure the availability of quality and affordable healthcare services at the doorstep by rationalizing existing facilities and establishing new ones. Presently, the region boasts a robust public healthcare infrastructure, including over 4100 health facilities.
The plan focuses on upgrading existing Primary Health Centers (PHCs) to SDHs to meet IPHS norms. Furthermore, Non-Traditional Public Health Centers (NTPHCs) can be elevated to the level of PHCs, and new Sub Centers will be established in remote and underserved areas, based on the actual requirements arising from population growth, according to the document.
Efforts are being made to achieve full geographical coverage and implement IPHS/NMC norms at various facility levels, starting from the district level, it states, adding that over the past few years, more than 2000 medical seats have been added to improve the availability of doctors and paramedics.
The initiatives include increasing MBBS seats from 500 to 1100, adding 26 BDS seats under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category in Dental Colleges, introducing 50 PG seats under EWS in Medical Colleges/SKIMS, and approving 38 Dental PG Seats in Dental Colleges. Additionally, 250 Diplomate of National Board (DNB) seats have been approved in SKIMS Soura/Government Medical Colleges/District Hospitals/Sub-District Hospitals, along with 590 B.Sc paramedical seats in seven Medical Colleges and 440 B.Sc. Nursing seats.
Moreover, 60 seats for Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) have been introduced in Government Unani Medical College, Kashmir, and 63 seats for Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) have been added in Ayurvedic Medical College, Akhnoor, Jammu.
An additional 200 MBBS seats have also been introduced, raising the total intake capacity to 1300 seats. This has been achieved by operationalizing Government Medical Colleges in Udhampur and Handwara during the year 2023-24.
“1612 posts of different categories have been created in New GMC Udhampur and Handwara @806 each and the process for filling the same has also been initiated,” the document states. “This shall help improve the doctors’ population ratio pivotal in achieving quality healthcare for the populace.”