Vikash Sharma

The dream of having Odisha’s first liver transplantation unit at SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH), Cuttack is yet to take off even after the idea was mooted some ten years back. Though Rs 22 crores were earmarked and equipment procured, the liver transplant project is yet to begin despite its inauguration being done twice in the past.

The delay has raised serious questions on the claims made by the Odisha government that adequate focus is being given to improve health infrastructure and transform SCBMCH into a world-class institution.

Former Health minister, late Naba Kishore Das had inaugurated the liver transplant OPD at Hepatology department on October 25, 2021. Speaking on the occasion, Das had said, “SCB is going to script history as a patient from Rourkela, Bichitra Nanda Khatua has registered for the transplant and his son will be the donor.”

Even though 15 months have now passed, it is not known whether Bichitra Nanda underwent the transplant or not. The inordinate delay has shattered the hopes of hundreds of patients who are forced to look for alternative options outside Odisha. The latest being actor Pintu Nanda.

The actor was recently flown to Delhi where he is likely to undergo liver transplant at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), New Delhi.

Irked over lack of such facilities in Odisha, actor Sritam Das raised questions over Odisha government’s intent. In a tweet, the actor wrote, “It is really disheartening that no liver transplant is possible in any hospital in Odisha. The patients, who are going outside the state, are being treated by a lot of Odia doctors.”

Kabiraj Rout, another patient from Cuttack’s Barang, is now doing rounds of SCBMCH. He is now surviving on medicines only after he was diagnosed with liver ailment some one year back. The doctors have advised Rout to undergo a liver transplant and the treatment would cost around Rs 40 lakh outside. It is practically not possible for him, said a hapless Rout.

“I only come here to take medicines and consult doctors. I have no money for undergoing liver transplant. What else I can do than taking medicines till I am alive,” said Rout.

SCBMCH Administrative officer, Dr Abhinash Rout said, “The Superintendent had conducted a meeting with doctors of concerned department and others one week back to review the project. A detailed analysis was done on the plugging the gaps and directions were issued to make it functional by March end.”

(Reported by Prabhat Bisoi)