THE S.C.B. MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL
Sriram Chandra Bhanja (S.C.B.) Medical College and its hospital, is presently running its 63rd year of existence. Established in the Pre-Independence India, under the British Raj in 1944, it happens to be a pioneer institute in the whole of eastern part of India in medical teaching, training, research and patient care. The saga of its birth, baptism and upbringing is nostalgic and reminds one of the sagacious stewardship of a few worthy sons of Odisha as well as of a handful of benevolent Britishers.
Outlining the various events chronologically with regard to the history of this institution right from its early embryonic stage to the present state of growth and evolution, one gets struck with wonder and awe. Starting from a tender, tiny sapling more than one and half century ago, has progressed slowly but steadily to its present amazing form of a mammoth , sprawling tree which in a true sense, ushered in the modern medical practice and training to our State as well as parts of the neighboring states.
There existed a small dispensary in the premises of the present medical college during the days of the Marhatta rule in the later half of the eighteenth century. The sole purpose of that dispensary was to render medical assistance to sick pilgrims enroute to and from Puri, especially during the “Car Festival’ of Lord Jagannath. Thousands of devout from all over the sub-continent converged every year to the ‘Puri Dham’ , one of the four Sacred Dhams of Hindus, during the months of June or July to attend the week long famous festival. On account of the poor sanitary conditions existing then and non-availability of safe potable water, many of them were naturally stricken with communicable diseases like malaria, cholera and gastroenteritis on their protracted journeys. This was a regular annual feature for which, the Marhatta rulers had thoughtfully established some road-side, small dispensaries to cater to the needs of these ailing pilgrims and the one at Cuttack was by far the biggest and comparatively well equipped. This dispensary continued to function admirably till the British occupation of Orissa in 1803 A.D. The British rulers, in due course of time, realised the strategic importance of this dispensary at Cuttack and converted it to a small hospital. Regular financial assistance was made available and the hospital ran smoothly for years thereafter. Following the Great Famine of 1865-66, the British rulers were forced to undertake some development works in Odisha like digging canals, building roads and laying rail tracks in order to improve the communication links to and from the State, but even in such tight financial situation, they did not starve this tiny hospital for adequate funds. they made substantial provisions for it by pumping enough money from the “Annachhatra Fund” so that the hospital ran smoothly.
In 1875, a large hearted Briton, Dr. Stewart, the then Civil Surgeon of Cuttack mooted out the idea of starting a medical school, utilising this hospital as an infrastructural nucleus. In this endeavour, he received the kind support and sincere patronage of the then Lt. Governor, Sir Richard Temple and the Divisional Commissioner, Mr. T.E. Ravenshaw. Thus was born the Orissa Medical School. Since then, Licentiate Medical Practitioners (L.M.P.) were trained in Orissa. In 1916-17, the Orissa Medical School was affiliated to the Bihar and Orissa Medical Examination Board which granted the LMP Diploma.
When Odisha became a separate State in 1936 on the basis of language, the academic infrastructure was meager. There was no University, only 5 general colleges comprising 2 Degree, 2 Intermediate and one Training college existed. For postgraduate study in all subjects of Science and Humanities, except English for which M.A. classes were held in the Ravenshaw College, as well as for the degree education in Medicine and Engineering, the students of Odisha had to go outside the State. The newly formed Government of Orissa headed by statesman Sri Biswanath Das as the Prime Minister took office in June 1937, they realised the fact that Odisha would have to make up the leeway in the field of education, if at all, and it wanted to be on a par with the older provinces. Due to various disturbed political situations in the British Empire in many fields progress halted for five years. It was again a happy coincidence that another popular ministry was in office in the year 1943, headed by Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb. During his tenure, committees were constituted for recommending for the development of education in the State. On the recommendation of the Committee headed by Pandit Nilakantha Das, the first university of Orissa “the Utkal University”, came into existence on the 27th November 1943. The establishment of this University heralded a subsequent period of hectic educational proliferation both in the field of general education and technical education. In the process, Orissa got seven more colleges inclusive of a Medical College, over and above the already existing five.
For founding the first Medical College, it was again the concerted effort from many quarters. Major A. T. Anderson who happened to be the Principal of the Orissa Medical School-cum-Civil Surgeon of Cuttack, at that time urged upon the then Director of Health, Col. A.N. Chopra, I.M.S. who in turn, recommended to the Government to upgrade the existing medical school to the status of a College. The Maharaja’s council of ministers in general and Pt. Godavarish Mishra in particular worked assiduously on the recommendations of the Health Director and took the lead to prevail upon the Medical Council of India, as a result of which, the Orissa Medical College was born on the 1st of June 1944, admitting the first batch of only 22 students into the M.B.B.S. Degree course. Successful candidates from this batch emerged as M.B.B.S. doctors in 1948. The Orissa Medical College was affiliated to Utkal University and it conferred the M.B.B.S. Degree. Soon after, the M.B.B.S. Degree of this University was recognized by the M.C.I. in 1952 with retrospective effect. In order to bring the status of the newly born college at par with other older medical colleges of the country, fund was the constrain. The then British Government was financially drained due to the World War II. To supplement the usual government grant, the generous feudal ruler of the state of Mayurbhanj made generous donations to ease out the financial hurdles. It was therefore, the Government renamed the Orissa Medical College after the name of Maharaja of Mayurbhanj Sriram Chandra Bhanj Deo as S.C.B.Medical College in the year 1951.
Currently the institution admits 250 student per anum for M.B.B.S. course. For maintaining required standard of education in medical colleges and for providing specialist service in the periphery and medical college hospitals, the need for post-graduate training was felt in due course. Consequently P.G. courses in different specialties (M.D/M.S.) were started in 1960. Since 1981, post-doctoral training leading to the award of D.M. and M.Ch Degree were instituted in the disciplines of Cardiology and Neurosurgery respectively. At present, this medical college extends facility for P.G. training in all the 22 broad specialties as well as P.G. studies in super-specialty subjects like Cardiology, Neurology, Nephrology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Neurosurgery, Urology, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Pediatric Surgery and Plastic Surgery. Besides, facilities are available in disciplines like other super specialty disciplines viz. Clinical Haematology, Hepatology, Surgical Endocrinology and Surgical Gastro-entrology. Though these superspeciality disciplines till date do not have post-doctoral training facilities as yet, they render yeoman service nonetheless by way of making available highly skilled and most modern forms of therapy to the needy patients of our State. State of the art treatments like ‘bone marrow transplantation’ and ‘renal transplantations’ are offered to needy patients at state cost.
In addition to medical under graduate course and post-graduate course, Govt. of Orissa started Bachelor in Dental Surgery (BDS) course with 50 numbers of seats in a separate wing named as Dental wing of SCB Medical College, Cuttack in the year 1984. The BDS graduates those are passing out from this institution are serving to the people of the state. This S.C.B.Dental College is headed by one Principal. Besides B.D.S. courses the dental college undertakes postgraduate training in six subjects.
Therefore, the S.C.B. Medical College Hospital with all its present components of specialized and super specialist services along with modern diagnostic approach and investigative laboratory service and intensive care service to critically ill patients is serving our state most effectively as an advanced premier medical centre should do.
In the year 2001 Govt. of Orissa in collaboration with ISRO and Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate institute of Medical sciences, Lucknow established Tele-Medicine service for providing Distant Medical education to our medical students, Tele consultation for critically ill patients, follow-up treatment facility to the patients who are treated earlier and lastly Tele medical video conference. Another achievement for its attached hospital is, hospital waste management system for disposal of infected waste generated in the hospital through use of modern sophisticated instruments and equipments.
The institution is running a Level ‘A’ Trauma Centre which will deal with poly Trauma patients, as because this medical college is situated along side N.H.- 5 . This centre is of great benefit to victims of Road Traffic Accidents. The Medical College & Hospital has come up with a Regional Diagnostic Centre in its own campus for better diagnostic facility available to the patient inside the campus for 24 hours.
At present, the S.C.B. Medical College with its attached hospital is a huge institution, comparable to the very best of its kind in our country. It is one amongst the very few Medical Colleges of India which have been permitted to admit 250 students in M.B.B.S. course. In respect of teaching, training, research and clinical service, the S.C.B. Medical College maintains a excellent reputation and standard. Some of the staff and alumni of this institution have earned national and international recognitions. The college and the attached hospital are adequately staffed. Above all, this institutional complex, as it stands to day, is the very heart-throb of the medical activities of our state, and of the hopes and aspiration of our people.