Contributing to healthcare

Print edition : December 20, 2002

The JJM Medical College, run by the BEA in Davangere, has modern infrastructural facilities in a range of specialities.

The Bapuji Pharmacy College.-RAVI SHARMA

THE piece de resistance of the Bapuji Educational Association's numerous institutions is undoubtedly the Jagadguru Jayadeva Murugarajendra (JJM) Medical College at Davengere. This is the only institute that allows the Association to cross-subsidise its other ventures in education. Started in 1965, the College was initially affiliated to Mysore University. Now it is affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi Health University. It received recognition from the Medical Council of India in 1987. Admission for under-graduate courses with an intake of 245, post-graduate courses with an intake of 107, and diploma courses with an intake of 90 are mainly through a State government-conducted examination, leaving a handful of seats available for the management.

Eighteen specialities microbiology, community medicine, forensic medicine, general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, dermatology, psychiatry, ENT, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, anaesthesia, radio diagnosis, pathology and pharmacology are offered. The college has superspeciality departments such as neurology, neurosurgery, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, gastroenetrology, urology and nephrology.

The infrastructure that is available at the college is surprisingly modern for a college of its period. Located on a 25-acre campus, it has an impressive 72,000 square feet library, which can accommodate up to 1,500 students. Chief librarian P.S. Mahesh, said: "We have 35,000 textbooks and we subscribe to 295 journals. The expenditure on textbooks alone is Rs.15 lakhs per annum, while on journals it is Rs.65 lakhs." Most of the students hail from outside Davangere; the hostels accommodate 1,100 boys and 750 girls. The JJM College has 342 well-qualified teachers; with telemedicine catching up in a big way, exposure to information technology has been stressed upon.

Maintaining the college has not been easy in financial terms. Said Dr. M.G. Rajasekharappa, Principal: "With most of the seats being taken away from the management and the prescribed government fees being insufficient, it is an uphill task to maintain the high standards that the MCI and the University want us to maintain."

Attached to the JJM College are the 948-bed Chigateri Government Hospital, the 950-bed Bapuji Hospital, the 150-bed Bapuji Child Health Institute and Research Centre and the government-run 100-bed Women and Children Hospital. Said Rajasekharappa: "Besides these hospitals, in a bid to acquire exposure to rural conditions JJM interns go to primary health centres near Davangere and also to the Taluk Hospital at Chennagiri." According to Rajasekharappa, with over 500 out-patients visiting the Bapuji Hospital every day, there is no shortage of clinical material for the students.

The Bapuji Hospital, which was started in 1970, has over the years become a referral centre for patients from far-flung places such as Shimoga, Hospet, Bellary and Raichur. The hospital is equipped with a full-fledged 24-hour biochemistry diagnostic laboratory with CT Scan, portable X-ray machines, facilities for colonoscopy and endoscopy, and so on, speciality clinics in areas such as neurology, neonatology, cardiology, plastic surgery, and so on, a three-unit dialysis department, a cardiac laboratory, three ventilators, exclusive neo-natal and cardiac intensive care units and 11 operation theatres (OTs). The college has 11 lecture galleries too.

Said Dr. D. Mallikarjuna, Superintendent, Bapuji Hospital: "The hospital has been regularly performing such procedures as angioplasty, angiography, ecocardiography, coronary artery surgery, valve replacement, total knee replacement surgery, keyhole surgery, orthopaedic and laproscopic surgery and gall bladder/cyst removal". The hospital conducts cleft-lip and palate surgery for children as part of the American-sponsored `Smile Train' project. On call at the hospital are 140 doctors and 250 staff nurses. "Occupancy rates hover between 50 and 60 per cent," Mallikarjuna said. According to Rajasekharappa the hospital has been recording losses of up to Rs.75 lakhs a year because the charges have been kept as low as possible.

Adjacent to the Bapuji Hospital is the Bapuji Child Health Institute and Research Centre. Established on Children's Day in 1993, the institute aims to provide quality healthcare for children. It provides round-the-clock casualty services, has a 20-bed neo-natal intensive care unit, which is equipped with incubators, radiant warmers, phototherapy units, ventilators and exchange transfusers and a biomedical diagnostic laboratory. The institute also has a 14-bed paediatric ICU, which is equipped for echocardiograms, peritoneal dialysis, ultrasound tests and computerised tomography.

Dr. M.G. Rajashekharappa, Principal, JJM Medical College.-RAVI SHARMA

The institute has 12 doctors and 35 specially trained paediatric nurses; on an average the institute gets 150 out-patients every day. The operations performed at the institute include those related to intestinal obstruction, imperforate anus, oesophagealatresia, and so on. Only serious cardiac and multi-systematic anomalies are not performed at the institute.

According to Dr. G. Guruprasad, neonatologist, 35 per cent of all admissions were to the 14-bed fully equipped paediatric ICU. "We are a user-friendly hospital. For example, all the beds are normal sized. This is because in India young children generally sleep with their mothers. There is also a separate parental area where parents can cook and eat. We also have training programmes for mothers (in breast-feeding), doctors and nurses, and programmes to create awareness on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Part of the BEA's initiatives in the medical field are the Bapuji School of Pharmacy, which was started in 1977 and the Bapuji Pharmacy College, which was started in 1992. While the former offers a two-year diploma in pharmacy and has an intake of 60, the latter offers a four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy course with an intake 60 and a two-year Master of Pharmacy course with an intake of 8. Admissions are done through the Directorate of Medical Education, with a small percentage of seats reserved for the management.

According to Dr. C.V.S. Subrahmanyam, Principal, Bapuji Pharmacy College, the Rs.6-crore institute is equipped with a pilot plant for the manufacture of capsules, tablets, injections, gels and syrups, 13 laboratories and a computerised library. Added R. Ramanand, Chairman of the two pharmacy institutes: "Both the school and the college have been rated as the best in the State by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the All India Council for Technical Education. After considering the work done at our Research Centre, the PCI has given us a grant of Rs.8 lakhs. We have applied for a further Rs.70 lakhs as aid. Ours is the only college that has started a PG course in the region."

Ramanand felt that the State government was adopting a step-motherly attitude towards pharmacy education, compared to medicine and engineering. "The admission process is also affecting us badly," Ramanand said.

The BEA also runs a school of nursing, which was established in 1970, and a college of nursing. While the school, which has 220 seats, offers a three-year diploma course, the college, which has 190 seats, offers a four-year degree course. The college started a post-graduate course in Community Health Nursing and Medical Surgical Nursing in 2002. Student nurses are given free accommodation in the hostels. According to A.S. Veeranna, Chairman of the governing body that oversees the two institutions, the association has applied for an increase in the intake.

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