“Our responsibility doesn’t end by naming the Institute after Atal ji. We have to follow his footsteps and our commitment should reflect his inherent nature and legacy.” This was stated by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare at the inauguration of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, here today. He also laid the foundation stone for the Super Speciality Block and new doctors’ hostel at the Institute in presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW), Shri Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor, GNCT, Smt Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, New Delhi and Shri Shiv Kumar ji, long time associate and companion of Shri Atal ji.
Addressing the participants, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that this initiative epitomises the political commitment, vision and guidance from our beloved Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji to not only strengthen the tertiary healthcare in the country but also ensure availability of healthcare professionals in remote areas by making medical education affordable to the people. He stated the Prime Minister is determined to achieve New India by 2022, and such initiatives will be the hallmark of that India.
Remembering fondly the former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that Shri Vajpayee was one of those rare leaders who was loved by every section of the society and had the admiration and respect even of his opponents. He further added that it was Shri Atalji who recognised the need for major augmentation in the tertiary healthcare facilities in the country as early as 2003. “Launching the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), a flagship scheme of the Government, Vajpayee ji announced setting up of six new AIIMS under the scheme in the year 2003,”he added. He further said that there has been a visible change in the tertiary healthcare since then in the country and assured that the Government is committed to take it even further.
Citing the examples of Polio and maternal health, the Union Health Minister said that it was Atal ji, who with his pragmatic and visionary approach envisaged the National Health Policy 2002 and launched it with the objective of achieving an acceptable standard of good health of Indian population by decentralizing public health system. “Upgrading infrastructure in existing institutions, ensuring a more equitable access to health service across the social and geographical expanse of India was one of its focus,” he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that the pro-poor scheme and innovative schemes started by Shri Atal ji helped millions. “Atal ji took HIV/AIDS head on by establishing State AIDS Control Societies. During his regime Anti-Retroviral Therapy was started,” he mentioned.
Dr Harsh Vardhan mentioned that Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences (ABVIMS) has 100 MBBS seats this year. “It will be a state-of-the-art medical college with reputed faculties and world class infrastructure. Super Specialty Block has more than 550 beds and the New Resident Doctors’ Hostel has 827 bed units,” he elaborated.
Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW) also paid rich tributes to the former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that he was a visionary leader and loved by everybody. He reiterated that central government is committed to quality medical education in this country and this is a step forward to it.