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Retaining faculty major challenge: Former AIIMS director

Retaining faculty major challenge: AIIMS
Retaining the faculty in AIIMS and bringing them together were some of the major challenges that he faced during his five-year tenure as the director of the the institute, R C Deka said.

"Retaining the faculty at AIIMS was a big challenge as many wanted to leave and go to corporate hospitals. That is why I had introduced many initiatives like the institute bearing the entire expenses of their travel abroad for conferences," Deka, who retired on September 30, told PTI.

"Further, I raised their incentives to Rs 60,000 per year which is being given to them as a learning resource allowance," he said. According to Deka, when he took charge in May, 2009, the faculty of AIIMS were divided into various groups. "To bring them together, I engaged them in research activities like human genomics, immunogenetics with organ transplant programme, molecular medicine, structural biology and protein structure, aiming at new drug development," he said.

During the previous academic year, the faculty, scientists and students of the institute published over 1,800 research papers in national and international journals. Over 500 young scientists at different positions like research fellows, research associates and Ph D students had been engaged in significant research projects under the supervision of the faculty, he said.

508 research projects, including 55 projects funded by international organisations like WHO, NIH, UNICEF and some Indian agencies, are in progress. The faculty and scientists have brought extramural funds of Rs 69 crore and 211 research projects were successfully completed this year.

"Rs 5 crore institutional funds were also distributed to young faculty for undertaking 58 new research projects involving newer areas like cardiology, neurosciences, stem cell studies, drug designing and protein research. "Under my chairmanship, the Research Advisory Council took a number of steps to enhance our research capabilities and to stimulate young scholars and faculty to learn research techniques using platform-based technology," he said.

Deka said recruiting resident doctors following 27 per Deka said recruiting resident doctors following 27 per cent reservation (for OBC candidates) was another major challenge. Speaking about the infrastructure challenges, he said the increased patient load is a major challenge faced by the institute.

AIIMS, which witnesses 8,000 to 10,000 outdoor patients daily, caters to patients not only from Delhi, but also from neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan.

"During the preceding year, the institute attended to 27,10,956 patients in OPD including those in the casualty, admitted 1,85,572 patients and performed 1,47,599 surgical procedures," he said.

"The institute has maintained an ideal parameter in patient-care services with an average bed occupancy of over 84 per cent and average hospital stay of about 6 days," he said.

Deka said during his tenure, he ensured there was no backlog as far as promotions were concerned. His retirement was, however, preceded by protests by some faculty members who claimed that they were deprived of promotion.

They even boycotted the AIIMS convocation recently attended by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. Deka, however, defended the decision of the standing selection committee, saying they were found "unfit" and hence not promoted.

They were less than 10 per cent of the entire faculty strength who got promoted, he said. Nineteen faculty members' promotions under the assessment promotion scheme were withheld this year. Following Deka's retirement, AIIMS has forwarded the name of its Trauma Centre chief Dr M C Misra for the post of its director.

The institute body chaired by Azad recommended Mishra's name to the PMO from among five shortlisted candidates for the final nod.


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