A center of excellence is like a one-stop solution to all complex problems related to a disease or a category of ailments.
In an exclusive interview to Team TOI recently, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said: “We do not want residents of UP to pack their bags and live like homeless people outside big hospitals in the metropolitan cities. We have invested heavily in health infrastructure.”
In the last three and a half years, UP’s medical education department has envisioned and taken forward the plan of setting up centres of excellence.
The list includes Advance Diabetes and Child Endocrine Centre (SGPGI), Modern Burn Unit, Centre for Orthopaedic Super-specialties and Center of Excellence for Diabetic Retinopathy (all at KGMU), Advanced Centre of Neurosciences (RML Institute of Medical Sciences) and medical colleges in Prayagraj and Meerut.
“A centre of excellence benefits patients by providing them state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary treatment and management facilities. It also challenges clinicians to look at medical conditions in an innovative way and find local solutions besides working for prevention through patient engagement and education,” additional chief secretary (medical education), UP, Dr Rajneesh Dube said.
Officials said each center had been approved on the basis of regional needs.
An Advanced Diabetes and Child Endocrine Centre will come up at SGPGIMS as according to the ICMR’s Demographical Transition Diseases in India Report (1990-2019), diabetes jumped from rank 14 in 1990 to rank 6 in 2019.
Another report said DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Year) which is a crucial indicator of disease burden has increased by 46% between 2007 and 2017 due to diabetes.
“Regional data shows that while in terms of prevalence per lakh UP may not be among the worst states but sheer numbers magnify the extent of the problem. New challenges are appearing on the horizon vis-à-vis diabetes, therefore, a dedicated centre to address deeper issues like local and cost-effective solution to the problem, and also work on a policy for prevention is the need of the hour,” said Prof Amit Agarwal, nodal officer for Advanced Diabetes and Child Endocrine Centre, SGPGI.
Likewise, by setting up the Centre of Excellence on Diabetic Retinopathy, the government will give impetus to fight against preventable blindness. Data from the Union ministry of health and family welfare shows that UP is home to about 4% (1.8 million) of the global blind population of 45 million. The worse part is that over three lakh new people join this population every year. Assessments of data from the Registrar General of India suggests that UP could be having over 3.9 lakh people with diabetic retinopathy.
Establishment of a Modern Burn Unit at KGMU was also a long pending demand. According to the National Health Profile, “Around 7 million people in India suffer from burns every year with 1.4 lakh deaths and disability to 2.4 lakh people.” According to experts, UP shares 15% of the burden and lack of proper facilities lead to a higher death rate in the state.
“Once functional, the Modern Burn Unit will be one of the best in the country which will be equipped with all kind of modular patient care services for diagnosis and management, including micro-surgical interventions,” said Prof AK Singh, former head of plastic surgery department, KGMU, and incumbent vice-chancellor Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University, UP.
Officials said the Centre for Neurosciences at RML Institute and Centre for Orthopaedic super-specialties at KGMU will also roll out the best in class treatment.
Experts are of the view that these centres of excellence will play an important role in the development of state capital as a mega hub of medical tourism.
“While apex medical institutions like SGPGI and KGMU are already big names, the new centres of excellence will cement brand Lucknow as a hub of medical tourism,” said Prateek Hira, a tourism industry commentator.