Puducherry: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday urged the faculty, students and research scientists of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) here to develop models for future health strategies both in India as well as internationally.
“You have a rich tradition as well as depth of expertise. You have pioneered numerous concepts and I wish that in the coming years when I go about reforming the health sector this proud institution weighs in with the right solutions,” the minister, who presided over JIPMER’s golden jubilee celebrations, held in Puducherry on Friday, said.
JIPMER is India’s oldest medical school, originally founded by the French East India Company in 1823. In 1956, work began on its expansion as a central medical college and hospital. In 1964, the hospital and outpatient buildings were inaugurated by President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. In July 2008, it was given the status of an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament, according to an official statement.
Dr Harsh Vardhan pointed out that the public health system in large parts of the country needs a big reorientation. The country has a big challenge ahead to meet the September 2015 deadline of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal targets in bringing down the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates. Alongside, there is a need to stem the spread of non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension, etc.
He said, “I urge JIPMER to develop a new tribe of doctors with values guided by national needs. A good doctor is not necessarily one who has multiple degrees and prescribes effective lines of curative treatment. To the common man a good doctor is one who is rooted in ethics, is accessible, and, gives him the courage and confidence to fight back against his condition. Let us have doctors with not just curative skills, but also preventive counselling skills. He should have the capability of inspiring and leading local communities, whether in towns or Adivasi hamlets, to form social movements over health. They should prescribe drugs rationally and have the breadth of vision to look to our traditional medicinal systems for solutions. Last and most important, they should continually upgrade their knowledge. In the age of holistic medicine, they should be conscious of optimizing the available resources and systems and working in an integrated fashion with specialists in other branches of medicine.”
JIPMER has an established rural outreach tradition. As its hospital services improve, there results quantifiable outcomes in the rural population. Its 400-bedded women and children hospital is the largest centre of its kind among India’s institutes of national importance like AIIMS and PGI, Chandigarh.
“You are introducing services in new super-specialty areas like Paediatric Cardiology, Paediatric Cardiac Surgery, Foetal Medicine, Medical Genetics and Neonatology. Your Advanced Neuro-Vascular Unit, the Development of Advanced Paediatric Care, upgraded critical care in Department of Anaesthesiology, Centre for Renal Sciences, Centre of Endocrinology, etc are indeed a matter of national pride,” the minister remarked.
He had special words of praise for the pioneering initiative to set up a MD course in Emergency Medicine, apart from an Emergency Medical Treatment course. He observed that in the majority of accident cases, victims are rushed to the nearest hospital with great hopes, but find to their dismay that the personnel and facilities are quite inadequately trained and motivated for the task. About 55-91 per cent of the reported errors that contribute to preventable death occur during trauma reception and resuscitation.
Dr Harsh Vardhan added, “The coming years will see broad and deep expansion of the health sector of the country based on a new National Health Policy which stresses the importance of holistic medicine, public health specialization, preventive interventions to lower the disease burden, development of positive health for a healthy social movement. At the same time we should not ignore the need for world-class tertiary care and improving the doctor to population ratio. I hope JIPMER will keep contributing to this endeavour.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan released the Golden Jubilee souvenir of JIPMER and presented the first copy to President Pranab Mukherjee who was the keynote speaker at the event.
Chief Minister of Puducherry, N Rangaswamy; and Lieutenant-Governor of Andaman and Nicobar, Lieutenant-General Ajay Kumar Singh also spoke on the occasion. Also present were R Radhakrishnan, Member of Parliament and Dr Ravi Kumar, Director, JIPMER. Dr M K Bhan, JIPMER’s president, released the institution’s golden jubilee report.