THE SO­CIAL SEC­TOR STARS

AIIMS | ES­TAB­LISHED IN 1956

India Today - - INSIDE - —Priyanka Sharma

AIIMS, NAVODAYA VIDYALAYAS, APOLLO HOS­PI­TALS, IGNOU, KENDRIYA VIDYALAYAS

THE RISE TO FAME

The All In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi was born as an Act of Par­lia­ment af­ter the gov­ern­ment felt the need for a state-ofthe-art in­sti­tute of ex­cel­lence with the best in med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, re­search and high qual­ity pa­tient care. The then Union health min­is­ter, Ra­jku­mari Am­rit Kaur, who be­came the first pres­i­dent of AIIMS in 1957, played a big role in help­ing en­shrine the au­ton­o­mous na­ture of the col­lege. By then, the hos­pi­tal and col­lege were al­ready up and run­ning (the first stu­dents had joined in 1956 af­ter a com­pet­i­tive en­trance test in five cities). With the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion and the New Zealand gov­ern­ment ex­tend­ing ma­jor grants, the hos­pi­tal quickly got in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion. By 1961, the Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, US, had AIIMS on its list of the world’s most dis­tin­guished hos­pi­tals.

STEP BY STEP

When AIIMS opened ini­tially, it was much smaller in op­er­a­tion. As the in­sti­tute grew, new cour­ses and spe-

cial­i­sa­tions were added. To­day, the med­i­cal in­sti­tute has 53 clin­i­cal de­part­ments in­clud­ing nine su­per spe­cialty cen­tres which have the where­withal to han­dle all types of dis­ease con­di­tions, with sup­port from pre- and par­a­clin­i­cal de­part­ments. In the cur­rent era, where health­care is prov­ing to be a ma­jor chal­lenge be­cause of the high costs of med­i­cal treat­ment, AIIMS con­tin­ues to pro­vide af­ford­able treat­ment of the very high­est qual­ity to the poor­est of the poor. “Un­like what is hap­pen­ing in large parts of In­dia, AIIMS is pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent treat­ment at an af­ford­able cost,” says AIIMS di­rec­tor Dr Ran­deep Gu­le­ria.

EX­PAN­SION ZONE

To­day, AIIMS gets over 10,000 pa­tients ev­ery day. The num­ber of surg­eries too has grown ex­po­nen­tially ev­ery year. This, of course, is tak­ing a toll on the doc­tors and nurs­ing staff, who are peren­ni­ally over­worked. “Now the sit­u­a­tion is such that we are fac­ing a lot of prob­lems due to the huge in­crease in the num­ber of pa­tients,” says Dr Gu­le­ria. “We are look­ing to ex­pand, and newer cen­tres are com­ing up. But all this takes time, and a com­pre­hen­sive master plan will have to be de­vel­oped. Ev­ery as­pect of the ex­pan­sion, in­clud­ing in­creased pa­tient load and re­search de­mands, will have to be fac­tored into the plan.”

FU­TURE IM­PACT

AIIMS is plan­ning to stay at the cut­ting edge of re­search, in­clud­ing fu­ture sciences like gene edit­ing. Re­search is on at the med­i­cal in­sti­tute on the use of stem cells and tis­sue engi­neer­ing, even on de­vel­op­ing tis­sues and or­gans us­ing 3D bio­print­ing for treat­ment or re­place­ment of dam­aged ones. “We are also aim­ing for the gene cor­rec­tion ap­proach in treat­ing ge­netic dis­eases, us­ing stem cells with cor­rected and func­tional genes,” says Dr Gu­le­ria.

Photo by NEHRU MEMO­RIAL LI­BRARY

SCALE UP AIIMS founder-di­rec­tor Dr B.B. Dik­shit shows PM Nehru a model of the AIIMS cam­pus, 1956

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