Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy laid the foundation for 14 new medical teaching colleges planned across the state, in a virtual meet from his Tadepalli camp office on Monday. The event, among many, was held to commemorate the two years of Jagan's rule in the state.

The construction work of two new medical teaching colleges has started already, which makes it a total of 16 medical colleges. Apart from building 16 new teaching medical colleges, the government is investing a total of over Rs 16,000 crore in revamping the health infrastructure in the state, right from the primary to the tertiary level. New hospitals will be built wherever necessary and the old ones will be revamped wherever solicited.

The 16 new colleges will come up in Pulivendula, Paderu, Machilipatnam, Vizianagaram, Anakapalli, Rajahmundry, Amalapuram, Palakollu, Eluru, Bapatla, Markapuram, Madanapalli, Penukonda, Nandyal and Adoni respectively and will cost the government exchequer an estimated total of Rs 7,880 crores.

The government said that it is important to note that in 100 years, since 1920 when KGH in Visakhapatnam was built, only 10 medical teaching colleges were in the state. This essentially meant that this new initiative undertaken by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government is going to increase the number of colleges in the state by a whopping 150 per cent.

Chief minister Jagan said that, "As I have said before, the handicap we have is the state not having any tier-1 cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru or Chennai where all top hospitals are concentrated. With us building these 16 new colleges, ensuring one for each parliamentary constituency lets us prepare ourselves better than any other state and helps us place ourselves on par with other cities and emerge as a medical powerhouse."

He said that another major concern proving to be a difficult hurdle to cross amid the pandemic, is the shortage of medical workforce in the state. Therefore, the infrastructure of the number of teaching hospitals would ensure a constant supply of workforce to the health machinery in the state and keep the state prepared for any such similar eventualities in the future.

The CM has decided to also encourage the private sector by offering free land to anybody who is ready to build a speciality/super speciality hospital with an investment of at least Rs 100 crores in the next three years. District officials have been instructed to identify the land and start the process with a target of 80 speciality/super speciality hospitals being constructed within the next three years in the state. By prioritising the public and private health sectors, the government aims to ensure that the state is fully equipped to battle anything similar to the COVID-19 outbreak in the future.

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