Shillong, April 3 (IANS): Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said the government is in the process of recognising the MBBS course conducted by the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) here.
"Every new institute has its hiccups. The Medical Council of India (MCI) is doing their exercise and I am sure that they (MBBS students in NEIGRIHMS) would be recognised," he told journalists after inaugurating the statue of Indira Gandhi at the medical institute here.
Admitting that having faculty in NEIGRIHMS is the biggest hurdle, due to its geographical location, Azad, however, informed that the ministry is doing its best to sort out the issue by providing incentives to faculty who wishes to serve there.
NEIGRIHMS, the first postgraduate medical institute in India's northeast has been designed in line with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared NEIGRIMS a national institute on January 22, 2000, when he visited Shillong.
The first batch of 50 MBBS medical students is due to pass their final year degree course later next month in the institute's 25-year history. However, in the absence of the course being recognised by the MCI, the future of the students hangs in balance.
The MCI has refused to recognise the graduate course offered at NEIGRIHMS as it failed to meet its guidelines.
According to the guidelines, a medical institute has to have a minimum of 69 faculty members. But NEIGRIHMS has only 47 faculty members at present.
"There is an acute shortage of medical faculty and at present the faculty members are also taking on the job of five doctors, both attending to the patients and giving lectures to students which is humanly impossible," a faculty member told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The NEIGRIHMS, an autonomous institute established by Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, has a sophisticated cardiology department, well-equipped neurology and urology departments and a 30-bed intensive care unit (ICU).