Hands off-AIIMS, Bhopal, Medicos operate on dummies
Students began their year-long internship at Bhopal’s All India Institute of Medicine Sciences (AIIMS).The institute which was modeled on the lines of India’s premier medical Centre in Delhi. India now has eleven AIIMS like institutions. The promise is to open an AIIMS in each State under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY), but none of them are yet fully functional.
Students at AIIMS Bhopal are finishing four and a half years of MBBS training without any practical experience in surgeries, delivering babies or even handling emergency cases. But serious infrastructural deficiencies exist even at the basic level. It is yet to get a license to open a blood bank. Without a blood bank, emergency department cannot be operational. As per medical curriculum, students are supposed to spend the first half of their day in hospital, learning practical skills, and attending lectures during the second half. But due to lack of infrastructure, the practice at the institute is to take the students to a nearby government hospital to witness basic surgeries. The experience of learning only by observation is like trying to learn swimming only by reading a book.
Analyzing the strategy to open AIIMS in every state:
- It took us 40 years to make AIIMS Delhi, as a Centre of excellence.
- We cannot open an AIIMS in every State without providing it with requisite infrastructure and support.
- The institute has been setup without adequate due diligence.
- There exist serious infrastructural deficiencies at all levels even at the basic level.
- Inability to fill the sanctioned positions at all levels. This includes- at the level of faculty, non-teaching staff and resident doctors.
Steps that need to be taken on an urgent basis:
- Creating basic infrastructure which will enable students to get practical experience in surgeries, delivering babies or even handling emergency cases
- Filling sanctioned positions at all levels
- Other institutes, like Delhi AIIMS, PGI Chandigarh and CMC Vellore can each adopt two new AIIMS like institutions
- To have an exchange programme for faculty and students which will provide them with necessary exposure
- Adequate deliberations at the level of government before opening more such institutions. The focus should shift to quality instead of quantity by strengthening the existing institutions
The situation should be understood based on the overall state of medical education in the country. There are various issues which should be urgently addressed. These include huge deficit of medical professionals, especially at the primary level, inability on part of the regulator in providing an ethical oversight, low quality of medical education and high capitation fees.