The top-ranked All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, is the culmination one of Jawaharlal Nehru’s dreams.
“Creating a country imbued with a scientific culture was Jawaharlal Nehru’s dream, and immediately after independence he prepared a grand design to achieve it. Among the temples of modern India which he designed, was a centre of excellence in the medical sciences. Nehru’s dream was that such a centre would set the pace for medical education and research in southeast Asia, and in this he had the wholehearted support of his health minister, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur,” says the AIIMS website.
The seeds of this institution were ready before India’s independence. In 1946, a health survey and development committee, headed by Sir Joseph Bhore, an Indian Civil Servant, had recommended the setting up of a national medical centre which would focus on fulfilling the need for highly-qualified manpower to look after the country’s growing healthcare activities.
“The dreams of Nehru and Amrit Kaur and the recommendations of the Bhore Committee converged to create a proposal which found favour with the government of New Zealand,” says the institute history. A generous grant from New Zealand under the Colombo Plan made it possible to lay the foundation stone of AIIMS in 1952.
Through an act of Parliament, AIIMS was finally established in 1956, as an autonomous institution “to serve as a nucleus for nurturing excellence in all aspect of health care.”
It was created as an institution of national importance to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and post-graduate medical education in all its branches so as to demonstrate a high standard of medical education in India; to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order for the training of personnel in all important branches of health care; and to attain self-sufficiency in post-graduate medical education.
AIIMS boasts comprehensive facilities for teaching, research and patient care. As provided in the Act, it conducts teaching programmes in medical and para-medical areas and awards its own degrees.
It conducts teaching and research in 42 disciplines.
In the field of medical research, AIIMS claims the lead, having more than 600 research publications by its faculty and researchers in a year.
It also runs a College of Nursing.
Twenty-five clinical departments including four super-speciality centres manage practically all types of diseases with support from pre- and para-clinical departments. However, the hospital does not cater to burns cases, dog-bites and patients suffering from infectious diseases.
In addition to the Delhi facility, AIIMS manages a 60-bedded hospital in the Comprehensive Rural Health Centre at Ballabgarh, Haryana and provides health cover to about 2.5 lakh people through the Centre for Community Medicine.
AIIMS runs various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
In the undergraduate category, AIIMS offers MBBS, BSc (Hons) in human biology, and BSc courses in nursing, audiometry, ophthalmic, techniques and radiography.
The institute offers postgraduate degrees under the MD, MS and MDS programmes, apart from DM, MCh and MSc.
Other programmes in the postgraduate category include a Master’s degree in biotechnology and a doctor of philosophy.