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Dr Pratap Kumar Pani dreams of world-class health infrastructure in Odisha

Dr Pratap Kumar Pani is a renowned Neuro Surgeon with 38 years of professional experience in the field and had been associated with the top hospitals in the country. However, he doesn’t seem to be content about his series of accolades so far as he is now dreaming of ensuring world-class health infrastructure at an affordable cost or if possible, at no cost in his home state Odisha.

Charity begins from home: Dr Pratap Kumar Pani’s vision is not a sudden awakening due to formal retirement in the medical profession. On the other hand, his craving for serving society began way back when he was merely 17 years old. Then he was still studying in the Intermediate, known as ISc. He established a school in his native village. Thanks to his regular visits, once or twice a month, even after migrating to Bengaluru, the school has developed into a model institution over a period of time. He is extremely happy to recall the growth of the school and takes pride in informing -“The first student of this school is now a Dean of the Delhi University”. He also reminds you-“Even my father was a well-known social worker”.

In search of a better career: If you ask him, why then you left Odisha, Dr Pratap Kumar Pani responds-“I did my MBBS with internship from SCB Medical College and Hospital Cuttack, Utkal University in Orissa from 1975 to 1982, MS General Surgery from the same college from 1982-85 and M.Ch Neuro Surgery at the same institution from 1988-91. In fact, I worked as an Assistant Surgeon in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Orissa from 1985 to 1988. I also served as a Neuro Surgery Consultant in Orissa from 1991 to 1996. However, in search of a better career, I shifted to Bangalore in 1996 to join as a Lecturer in Neuro Surgery at St. John’s Medical College and Hospital and continued in the position till 1997”.

An accomplished stint all along: In 1997 Dr Pratap Kumar Pani became an Assistant Professor in the same St John’s College and continued in the position till 2001. He was promoted as an Associate Professor in 2001 and continued until 2004 end. He joined as a HOD in Neuro and Spinal Surgery at RNT International Institute in Kolkatta. Dr Pratap Kumar Pani returned to Bangalore in 2006 to join as a Senior Consultant, Neuro and Spine Department, Sagar Hospital and continued there until 2019. From 2019 to 2020, he was a HOD, Department of Neuro Science and DNB Guide at the BGS Hospital, Bengaluru. From 2020 to 2022, he was the HOD of Neuro Sciences, at SS Sparsh Hospital, RR Nagar in the city. He was also the HOD, Department of Neuro Sciences, People Tree Hospital, Bengaluru.

Cervical surgery on sister: Although over a period of time health infrastructure has transformed to a great extent in Odisha, the plight was not so a couple of decades back. Dr Pratap Kumar Pani recalls-“In 2000, my sister suffered a cervical injury but there were no doctors to perform the surgery. Such a facility was available only at one or two places and I had to rush back to perform the surgery. Then, one had to come to South India to places like Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad or go to Kolkatta and New Delhi for organ transplantation, specialized treatment and rare surgeries”.

Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana: Dr Pratap Kumar Pani becomes delighted while having a glimpse of the medical situation back home-“Thanks to various health welfare schemes of different state governments, high-tech care to poor and needy patients has become a reality. In Odisha also, thanks to Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, the state government will bear full costs of all health services delivered to all patients irrespective of their income, status or residence in all government health care facilities. Not only that, the state government will bear the cost of healthcare provided in empanelled private hospitals for over 96.5 lakh economically vulnerable families in the state. This scheme makes a provision of annual health coverage of Rs 5 lakhs per family and additional Rs 5 lakhs for the women members of the family, after exhaustion of the initial Rs 5 lakhs limit”.

Forty per cent West Bengal patients: Taking an overall view on the current healthcare scenario in his home state Odisha, Dr Pratap Kumar Pani exclaims-“These days you have the best of high tech hospitals in Odisha like SCB Medical College and Hospital Cuttack, AIIMS, Apollo among many other reputed ones. In fact, my alma mater SCB Medical College and Hospital is among the premier medical centres in the country. It was set up one year before AIIMS, New Delhi and Bengaluru Medical College (BMC). My parent institute was the third one to have a CT scan facility. These days you can see forty per cent of the patients from West Bengal coming to Odisha for treatment. Earlier, all these people were in the habit of going down south for all health-related issues”.

From South India to Odisha: He applauds the state government for several health-related initiatives in his home state-“The state government led by Naveen Patnaik of Biju Janata Dal is doing a wonderful job in providing healthcare to its citizens. Huge tracts of land have been acquired for expansion programs and massive infrastructure is being provided for the same. I am foreseeing a situation wherein people from South India may start thinking of coming to Odisha for treatment”.

Plans to join Biju Janata Dal: Dr Pratap Kumar Pani has huge plans, programs and dreams. However, they all look too ambitious and in the present predicament also appear like a Herculean task to accomplish. But as Mahatma Gandhi kept saying, “Low Aim is a Crime”. In that perspective, Dr Pratap Kumar Pani is well within his rights to aim big and also strive towards enabling the same. As of now, to make the game change he is contemplating entering public life through the Odisha ruling party Biju Janata Dal.

Manohar Yadavatti


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