By Harihar Swarup
Dr M. Srinivas, the newly appointed director of the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, comes across as the quintessential topper. A man of humble origins, Srinivas started in a Kannada medium school and later became an MBBS gold medallist. The 56-year-old talks about what makes AIIMS India’s best hospital.
He says AIIMS Delhi is one-of-a-kind national medical institute. It has a long history, and the foundations are solidly built to promote patient care, research and training.
AIIMS stands out because it provides quality care with best standards to the poorest of poor. Over the years, owing to hard work of all the AIIMS members, the institute has gained international recognition.
“We maintain the highest standards in affordable patient care and promote research—we keep research in the forefront. We also make it a point to ensure close co-ordination between various medical specialists”
Dr Srinivas says AIIMS is equipped with excellent infrastructure and state-of-art equipment. The institution always acts proactively. “We also take the lead in times of emergencies and ensure smooth health care coordination.
“The Ayusman Bharat initiative is a big step towards ensuring health equity and AIIMS Delhi is actively contributing to it.. Affordable initiatives from the private sector are also required so that quality health care may be provided to people from the remotest corners.
Asked how we can change the way our hospitals are run – be it administration, infrastructure and enhancement of efficiently, Dr Srinivas says “I thank a multi-pronged approached is required. It has to focus on the principles of good governance, employee satisfaction, infrastructure support, manpower management and background resources.
In reply to a question on primary health, Dr Srinivas says, “While I agree that there is a lot to be done to strengthen primary health care in India. I do not agree that it is ailing. Many initiatives have been taken under the National Health Mission to strengthen PHCs and these are showing results. But these are works in progress. Most of these initiatives are related to increasing outputs, strengthening human resource, and using technology to deliver and monitor services and programmes. We are also gradually expanding the range of services provided at these centres in terms of elderly care, mental health services eye/ENT services, etc.”
According to Dr. Srinivas, the areas that still need to be strengthened are community engagement and empowerment, as ultimately they must drive primary health care. The other area is the capacity of the district level system to plan, implement and monitor health care. As a result we have a very top down approach to the delivery of health care. The need is to change. We also need to make our facilities patient-centric or patient-friendly. Another area to address would be the provision of primary care in the private sector.
As regards shortage of doctors and non communicable diseases, Dr. Srinivas says currently, NCDs are a big challenge in terms of death and disabilities as well as in terms of load on the health care system. It is not only because of their large numbers—about 25 per cent of adults are hypertensive and 10 per cent are diabetic—but also because these are lifelong diseases requiring repeated visits to health facilities. Our health systems are used to deliver acute episodic care appropriate for communicable diseases rather than a longitudinal chronic care required for NCDs. It will require better systems of record—keeping, medicine refills referral, etc. Also, some of these people, whose access and affordable is still a challenge, will require advanced care. (IPA Service)