DIBRUGARH, January 11, 2018
The first medical institution of Northeast India, Dr John Berry White Medical School – which was lying in a state of disrepair for years – is all set to receive a new lease of life.
In 1858, a 24-year-old British surgeon, John Berry White, came to Assam to work under the East India Company. He was posted in upper Assam as an assistant surgeon, serving in various capacities for 24 years and finally rising to the position of civil surgeon of what was then Lakhimpur district. In 1882, following his retirement, he contributed all of his life savings of Rs 50,000 (around Rs 10 million today) for setting up a medical school. In his will, White wrote that the institution should be set up at Dibrugarh. On November 19, 1896, he passed away in London and four years after his death, the Berry White Medical School was set up at Dibrugarh.
This school heralded the beginning of Allopathic Medical Education by conferring LMP Diploma in old undivided Assam. In 1938, the Assam Branch of Licentiate Medical Practitioner in its annual meeting under the chairmanship of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi, the then premier of the Congress Govt. of Assam decided to upgrade the Berry White Medical School to a full-fledged Medical College, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh was established on 3 November 1947, in the erstwhile US Military hospital of the second world war at Borbari, Dibrugarh through a process of up-gradation of Berry White Medical School immediately after independence, inaugurated formally by First chief Minister of Assam, Late Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi. The admission of the first batch of students was completed in September 1947 with 6 seats.
Oil India Limited (OIL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to convert the abandoned hospital into a medical museum.
“We have set a 15-month target to complete the project. It will be a gift to the people of Assam,” Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Laya Madduri said. OIL will invest Rs 2.1 crore for the preservation, restoration and renovation of the school under its corporate social responsibility initiative.
TNT News with inputs from Times of India