DIRECTOR'S SPEECH: 37TH AIIMS ANNUAL CONVOCATION
November 16, 2009
Your Excellency the President of India, madam Pratibha Devisingh Patilji, Honourable President of AIIMS and Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azadji, my esteemed colleagues, Dean and Registrar, Members of the Institute, distinguished invited guests, faculty and students, ladies and gentlemen:
On the occasion of the 37th Annual Convocation of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, I extend a very hearty welcome to you all.
AIIMS was established in 1956 and we celebrated the 53rd foundation day in September last.
As per the mandate of the Parliament, the Institute was entrusted with the responsibility to develop patterns of teaching both in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in all its branches so as to demonstrate a high standard of medical education to all medical colleges and other allied institutions in India; to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order and to attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate medical education.
During half-a-century we have substantially achieved our goals but we cannot claim that we have achieved the ultimate. To be a good doctor one learns the whole life. Similarly, the progress of an organization is a never-ending process. In a huge set-up with many variable factors, there are setbacks. Sometimes there are also difference of perception about the growth. But one thing is certain and it is there for everyone to see. AIIMS has established itself as a brand. Today AIIMS is synonymous with the ultimate in health care for an average Indian.
This distinction has unfortunately put us under tremendous pressure. For various reasons, from a centre of excellence in medical education and research, we have come to be known as a leading hospital, catering to ever increasing number of patients with high expectations. This has created a vicious circle, leading to overall deterioration. We are very much aware that we have a tremendous social responsibility. Our brand cannot and should not be used differently. we have therefore to evolve strategy to maintain the quality of the brand.
At this juncture, we need a critical review of the situation. The government and the policy makers need to decide the future direction for the institute: (a) should it grow as a mega hospital complex or (b) maintain its primacy in the field of medical education and research. One possible solution could be, as the Prime Minister suggested in one of his speeches at AIIMS earlier that AIIMS can take a lead in nurturing many state institutions to higher standards of medical care so that the patient pressure on it reduces and it can focus on frontier areas of research.
In this direction, the institute has made reasonable contribution in making a set of protocol and guidelines for disease management and for medical education which can help the state institutions to improve their quality both in teaching and patient care. We have also help the MCI in making a competency based curricula for PG medical education in the country.
We are indeed privileged to enjoy total support of the central government. This privileged position coupled with the enormous trust of the society place a huge responsibility on each one of us working or studying in the institute. We must never forget that we owe a lot to this institute, to the society and to the nation.
The institute has a manpower of over 10,000 including 625 faculty members. Till date, the institute has produced 4585 postgraduate doctors, 1062 super-specialists with D.M. and M.Ch. degrees, 782 Ph.D. scholars, 2450 MBBS doctors, over 1600 nurses and over 600 graduates in paramedical disciplines.
These figures of course include the 381 degrees which the Hon'ble President has just conferred. I congratulate all the recipients of their well deserved degrees and urge them always to uphold the dignity of their institute and the motherland.
During the last academic year, the institute faculty published over 1500 papers and chapters in books, which has no comparison. Currently the institute's faculty and scientists are working on 459 research projects which have an extramural grant of Rs. 35 crores. The credit goes to all my colleagues for their untiring efforts.
Presently the AIIMS hospitals have a total bed strength of 2424. During the last financial year, the institute attended to 23,16,539 OPD patients, admitted 1,55,897 patients and performed 1,18,442 surgical procedures. The institute hospitals continue to maintain ideal parameters in patient-care services with average bed occupancy of 78.5 %, average hospital stay of 5.4 days and net death rate of 2.7 %.
We are aware that the level of patient satisfaction has been declining over past few years, especially in OPD care. However, despite the growing number, we are trying to find a solution and change the situation. I am sure we shall receive necessary support from the Hon'ble Minister in overcoming this problem. A separate Out Patients block is being planned to decongest the hospital. Despite many problems, we are providing the best care to our indoor patients. A state of the art services is provided to all patients that visited us including the unborn baby in the mother's womb(i.e Fetus as a patient) and also the elderly(i.e.Old aged), by each one of my colleagues in all branches of medicine here at AIIMS through their dedicated efforts using modern facility with caring attitude. We are all committed to serve the nation.
In the course of the nation's progress and in keeping with the priorities of our democracy, the government has launched massive programmes on education and health. The launch of National Rural Health Mission has clearly demonstrated the priority of the government. The medical community has now to tighten its belt and take the challenge.
I take pride in stating that the institute has succeeded eminently in its contribution to the postgraduate medical education in our country. Our students, wherever they are, have made a mark and upheld the name of the institute. However, to make the country self-sufficient in postgraduate medical education, the government may have to review its policy and create more infrastructure in various states. It is essential to train more quality teachers to produce more doctors to cater to the growing needs of our population. In this context, the role of AIIMS faculty has greatly increased. Sir! We are ready to accept this challenge and make a solution.
On behalf of the faculty, staff and students and on my own behalf, I express a deep gratitude to your Excellency, madam, for your august presence on this occasion. I am also extremely grateful to the Honourable President of AIIMS and Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri Azad sahib, who has been always a source of strength and inspiration. I thank you all.