TODAY -

Deafening silence on medical education system

Dr Laifungbam Debabrata Roy *

RIMS - Regional Institute of Medical Science, Imphal  :: 01 January 2015
RIMS - Regional Institute of Medical Science, Imphal in January 2015 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



The total silence from the medical fraternity of Manipur, and civil society organisations only seem to reflect the culmination of a growing public indifference with the medical education system in Manipur.

What is even more dangerous as a trend today is that the entire faculty of this prestigious central government institution seems to be taking this lying down, like a defeated lame horse.

The medical institution, which began several decades ago as the Manipur Medical College in 1972 by Shri B.K. Nehru, the then Governor of Manipur. In 1972, the name of the College was changed to Regional Medical College, Imphal. The College was later renamed as North Eastern Regional Medical College under the management of North Eastern Regional Medical College Society.

Nearly 19 years later, the college was again renamed as Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and its management was taken over by NEC, Ministry of DoNER, Government of India. The Institute is affiliated to the Manipur University, Imphal and supposedly fulfils the prescribed norms of the Medical Council of India.

The institute has been closely associated with luminaries of the medical profession in Manipur, such a Dr N.B Roy (the first FRCS), Dr Kulabidhu Singh (the first MRCP), and many others over its early years.

The erstwhile RMC gained notoriety when the CRPF, a central law enforcement agency, committed an atrocious massacre of nine civilians in cold blood in 1995. Two decades have gone by since those days, but in recent times we have been served a more than full course meal of the corruption, professional in-fighting and nepotism related reports quite regularly in our local media. Criminal investigations have become the outstanding character of this institution today.

It is shocking that the MCI has only now uncovered the absence of critically important infrastructure and inadequate faculty strength after so many years. This revelation does not reflect the responsibility and role that this Council is supposed to be mandated with.

To the observant layperson in Manipur and the region, the despicable state of affairs in the RIMS is not to be blamed on the local players only. The situation has been allowed to deteriorate over the years with the full knowledge and even connivance of the central authorities including the Union Ministry of Health.

The news that the MCI has now written to the Manipur University to cease recognition of this professional institution of Manipur puts into serious jeopardy the lives and future career prospects of hundreds of young scholars training there for various professional degrees.

The RIMS can no longer be viewed as a referral hospital of any reliable standard in a world where health care standards have evolved by leaps and bounds across the globe. It is quite likely that the central government may now consider the shutting out of this institution and shifting it away from Manipur to a safer location in the North east region where it can receive better nurturing and growth. Where can the public, including those seeking immediate health care, in this institute go now?

With the increasing cost of health care in private hospitals that have mushroomed to the direct detriment of RIMS, this report has very serious implication to health care in Manipur.

The government of Manipur, which has treated this institution worse than a step-child for years, has now to shoulder the burden of cleaning up RIMS with diligence and moral responsibility that honours the many respectable doctors of the highest calibre that have served here since 1972.

The central government and the MCI cannot walk away and wash their hands after indicting this institution so severely. It is a matter of great alarm that the health care professionals, who were highly respected and even revered, have now sunk to the lowest levels of professional hell!

The silence is not only deafening; it is a clear verdict that doctors associated with referral health care in Manipurís institution of the highest prestige have let themselves down.

The tragedy is that the patients and their families who have continued to suffer ignominy, ill treatment, disregard and abuse for so many years will now suffer even more.

RIMS can easily slip into a ghost infrastructure, haunted by the blood and suffering of the many.


* Dr Laifungbam Debabrata Roy wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on February 04, 2015.


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