THE SOCIAL SECTOR STARS
AIIMS | ESTABLISHED IN 1956
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.
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.”
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.
SCALE UP AIIMS founder-director Dr B.B. Dikshit shows PM Nehru a model of the AIIMS campus, 1956