Minister of state (MoS) for health Sharad Jain recently said three branches of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will soon be launched in Gwalior, Jabalpur and Indore and a committee for the same will be formed in the state government.
However, while it took more than nine years for the Madhya Pradesh government to make the branch of AIIMS in Bhopal ‘functional’, the promise of three new branches looks a little far-fetched.
Including Bhopal, there are only seven AIIMS across India.
Only one AIIMS has been launched or announced per state except for heavily populated states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
In the next phase, two AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, one in Himachal Pradesh, one in Andhra Pradesh, one in Assam, one in Punjab, one in Tamil Nadu, one in Maharashtra, two in UP and two in Bihar have been proposed.
At Bhopal AIIMS, the cost of construction is said to have doubled from its 2009 estimate of Rs 682 crore and till a year ago, the hospital had no drainage system, no functioning central air conditioning system and only two temporary water connections. Till date, the multi-specialty hospital here is far from perfect.
Currently, there is no director, no administrative officers and no financial advisers at Bhopal AIIMS.
To make matters worse, several senior faculty members quit the institute due to non-utilisation of their services.
The cardiology department and trauma unit are non-functional as there are no faculty members for it. Even though digital X- ray facilities have started at the hospital, magnetic resource imaging and CT scan facilities are yet to be made available.
The minister of state for health said, “We will try to improve things here and will also constantly try to bring up new AIIMS in the state.”
Despite offering the same salary structure as AIIMS Delhi, only about a quarter of the sanctioned faculty positions have been filled in Bhopal. Only 65 doctors are working here and major super specialty departments like pediatrics, radiology nephrology, endocrinology, neurosurgery, burns and plastics and dermatology are still non-functional.
The situation of nursing and technical staff is even more alarming. Contract labourers and outsourcing nursing to external agencies are used as alternatives.