The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rishikesh is poised to roll out the country’s first citizen-health centre interface based on preventive rather than curative approach. It will not wait for the sick to get to it, rather AIIMS Rishikesh would endeavour to prevent people from going down with preventable conditions. Announcing this at a press conference at AIIMS Rishikesh today, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, said “When people fall ill in the hills, getting to the hospital is in itself a big problem. Often the diseases are not very serious, but a patient’s condition worsens by the time the hospital is accessed. To solve this problem I have instructed the authorities of AIIMS to build up a data bank of patients and put in place a system of reciprocal communication using email and mobile telephony.”
This outreach is part of a greater, nation-wide health assurance package envisioned by the Ministry, the Health Minister stated. AIIMS Rishikesh will have the honour of piloting it. The Prime Minister has already announced his intention of institutionalising universal health assurance within a year, he added. The registration desk of AIIMS Rishikesh is to be the source of primary data. The email or mobile umber of every patient who reports there –with whatever disease –will be stored in the computer. Thenceforth, the hospital will email or message the patient health messages at frequent intervals. The patient will also be informed in advance about preventive health check-up camps. This “keeping in touch” will be on perpetual basis, informed the Health Minister.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Prevention-is-better-than-cure is at the heart of the government’s health policy. Every doctor will be told to advise patients on the appropriate lifestyle to adopt wherein no further visit would be necessary. I have also instructed all the OPDs of AIIMS to continuously play programmes with information on the conditions relevant to that department. So while awaiting treatment, the patient and his relatives will get in-depth information on the disease that has brought him to the hospital and the ways to prevent getting it.” The Minister visited AIIMS-Rishikesh today with officials of the Health Ministry. He spent a long time talking to the doctors and interacted with the patients. He was satisfied at the rate of progress in completion of all the facilities in the campus.
“I have already drawn up plans for expansion of this AIIMS which is very close to my heart as it serves the people living in an area famous for providing the spiritual spine of our nationhood,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
The new plans include:
*A 100-bed Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Holistic Medicine. Here patients will be treated in not the allopathic approach but also with Ayurveda, Yoga and other Indian Systems of Medicine.
*An International School of Public Health in collaboration with a reputed US or French institution in the field (to be announced later)
*Separate CoEs for Oncology, Neurosurgery, Nephrology and Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
*India’s first CoE in Nursing Education and Research with 120 seats; to be operational next year and become the first AIIMS Nursing Colleges to admit male students.
*New departments for Geriatric Medicine and Occupational & Environmental Health
After opening a brand new Blood Bank at AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Harsh Vardhan also announced that talks are on with the Government of Uttarakhand to expand the facilities of AIIMS Rishikesh with additional 100-acre land, and also land for growing medicinal herbs cultivation facility whose produce will be utilised for developing drugs for holistic health care. The state government has been requested to make the land available, he said. He also said that the Director of AIIMS-Rishikesh has been given powers to recruit faculty members, officers and other staff directly without reference to the Ministry. He would also have more financial powers for purchasing equipment and making new constructions.
“I have removed all bottlenecks to ensure that AIIMS-Rishikesh is fully complete and in a position to provide all facilities which were originally promised by December 25 this year which is former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday. This AIIMS, along with the five other new ones, are his dream and I will ensure it is realised this year itself,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said. Over the next one-and-a-half days, the Minister will have meetings with the Chief Minister, Mr Harish Rawat, the Minister of Health, Mr Surinder Singh Negi, the Minister for Medical Education, Dr H.S. Rawat, Yoga guru Ram Dev and several other dignitaries. “I am committed to improving the health infrastructure of Uttarakhand and want to assure the government and people here of the Ministry’s readiness to advance all resources necessary to improve its health indicators,” Dr Harsh Vardhan announced.