AIIMS To Tie Up With IITs To Develop Low-Cost Medicines

Laying emphasis on frugal innovation and providing entrepreneurial platforms for budding scientists and new innovators to encourage them for extensive research was the way forward to provide affordable quality health services to maximum people in the country today, said Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

Dr Guleria was speaking during an exclusive interview to Bathinda Tribune on the sidelines of MAPICON 2019, a medical conference organised by the Association of Physicians of India (Malwa branch). He said: “The AIIMS is in the process of developing an incubation hub for innovators both in science and engineering. As a part of frugal innovation initiative, we have tied-up with IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur (collaboration of doctors and engineers) to develop cost-effective medical devices and equipment used for treatment of patients.”

On being asked to share insight on use of technology in healthcare at the country’s most premiere government hospital, Dr Guleria said: “The use of technology is very crucial as with advancements in technology, health facilities/services will improve and will become more affordable. Apart from relying heavily on technology for conducting extensive research in healthcare, we have even enhanced its use for medical education. For example, instead of using living things, we have started using mannequins for experimentation.” “The AIIMS is working to introduce an incubation hub to provide platform to scientists and innovators to market their medical products or services to pursue medical entrepreneurship,” added Dr Guleria.

The director said: “The prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases has increased sharply over the years. Earlier, infectious diseases were more prevalent but changes in lifestyle and dietary pattern have led to a sharp increase in lifestyle diseases (stroke, asthma, heart problems, diabetes and hypertension among others) today. They are not curable (but treatable) and last a lifetime. Medication does not help if not followed-up with changes in lifestyle and dietary patterns. Rather than prevention, we have to lay more emphasis on prevention by increasing awareness. Practising yoga goes a long way in fighting these diseases.”

When asked to share as to what all medical devices the AIIMS was working on, he said: “We have been working on a mobile application which can check levels of ambient air pollution. Given the rise in pollution levels and growing number of respiratory diseases in the country today, it will act as a catalyst in addressing the problem to some extent. Besides, we are also working to introduce a low-cost stents for heart patients. For conducting research, we will focus more on the use of artificial intelligence and stem cells in the coming days.”

On being asked to share the future goals of AIIMS Delhi, Dr Guleria said: “We are planning to increase the total bed strength from 2,500 to 5,000 in the next five years. The project is still in the pipeline.”

On steps that could be taken to ensure quality public health services (at government hospitals and dispensaries) to the bottom-rung of the society, Dr Guleria said, “Indeed, the quality of health services in rural areas remain poor and to improve the stature of public healthcare sector, human resource and investments have to be increased. A wellness clinics scheme was launched by the Union Government to improve the medical services.”

Dr Guleria said, “Ethically and legally, ayurveda doctors are not authorised to prescribe allopathy medicines. To plug the skill gap, we have decided to introduce a six-month elective course both for allopathic and ayurveda doctors which would equip them to prescribe allopathy medicines.” – The Tribune

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