NRI doctors build medical school, hospital in US | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NRI doctors build medical school, hospital in US

PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Washington
May 06, 2004 06:15 PM IST

An immigrant doctor couple from India's Andhra Pradesh state has set up a medical facility in their hometown hoping to meet the acute lack of advanced health services in the area.

An immigrant doctor couple from India's Andhra Pradesh state has set up a medical facility in their hometown hoping to meet the acute lack of advanced health services in the area.

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Sudarasana Rao and Mani Akkineni, who work in Chicago, have saved and spent more than $500,000 to build the medical school and hospital, the Non-Resident Indian General Hospital, at Chinna Kakani, between Vijayawada and Guntur.

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Around two dozen of their friends and colleagues, almost all of them hailing from the same region in Andhra Pradesh, helped fund the hospital that has been functioning for the past year.

The facility is the brainchild of five friends who came together to fulfil their dream of bringing quality and affordable health care to the people who live in the place they grew up in, according to American Medical News, a weekly covering the medical profession in the US.

Prasad Neerukonda, an anaesthesiologist in Chicago, said the group wanted to give back to their homeland after being successful in the US.

Medical services are available for the people who have money, but for the poor it is tough, says Neerukonda.

The physicians want the new hospital to fill the void between government hospitals that treat the indigent but don't have the funding to offer high-tech medicine, and the private hospitals that offer many advanced medical procedures but aren't charged with the mission of treating the poor.

The hospital they dreamt of would provide more than just the basics. It would be a world-class facility with CT scans and MRIs, and is equipped to take on high-risk pregnancies or provide chemotherapy.

The facility will service some two million people in the region and would be free to the indigent, which make up at least 90 per cent of the hospital's patient base.

The number of bed is slated to grow from 350 at present to 750 by the end of this year. Its patient load is expected to double or triple as word of the hospital's services gets around and the public transportation system improves.

Plans are afoot for a medical school and training for nurses, midwives, medical technicians and other health care professionals, most of which are in short supply in the region.

The 50-acre medical campus includes a student and faculty housing, with 100 students registered for the first year of the six-year programme.

Word of the school has even sparked interest among US students of Indian origin. Two students are from the US.

Roughly 90 faculty members have been hired, with 30 to 40 more to join.

Building a project of this scale from the other side of the world has been a challenge.

"It was overwhelming at first," describes Sudarasana Rao Akkineni.

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