Three more AIIMS gets govt approval

Boosting tertiary care sans strengthening primary care won’t help: public health experts

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of three more AIIMS-like institutions at Nagpur in Maharashtra, at Mangalagiri in Andhra Pradesh and at Kalyani in West Bengal.

The latest decision takes the number of AIIMS-like institutions, announced under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY) to 11, with only the Delhi AIIMS functioning at full capacity.

The Cabinet has stated that the project will involve a financial implication of Rs. 4,949 crore.

These institutions will address regional imbalances in tertiary health care services, said a PIB release.

However, public health experts maintain that without investing in primary healthcare, setting up tertiary care centres in every State is unlikely to fix India’s crumbling health infrastructure.

“An AIIMS in every State is a pointless exercise. Continuing to invest only in tertiary care without strengthening primary care, will ensure that we create institutions that will be overwhelmed — as patients would still not get treatment at district level,” said Amit Sengupta, co-convener of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Indian chapter of the people’s health movement.

Further, the AIIMS in Delhi was created in 1956 by an Act of Parliament, which ensured it remained autonomous — largely to see through Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of fostering a scientific culture in modern India.

“But the new AIIMS-like institutions created under the same Act in every State, will just ensure that there is a parallel structure. The hospitals will not be integrated within the State’s health system. We cannot strengthen a health system if we are bypassing the State and creating only tertiary care institutions, ” said Mr. Sengupta.

Source: The Hindu

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