Sheri-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar
An institute of medical sciences in Srinagar was the cherished dream of Sher-i-Kashmir, Jenab Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, as it would serve the people of Jammu & Kashmir state who had lived for a long time with in¬adequate medical facilities. This dream was realized with the commissioning in 1983 of the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences at Soura, in Srinagar. The institute has been designed to represent all three tiers (primary, sec¬ondary, and tertiary) of health the care delivery system with each tier covering a defined geographical area and popula¬tion group, thus making them an integral part of the social and medical organization of the region.
A small number of well-wishers met at a dinner in the early 1970s to celebrate the birthday of Jenab Sheikh Moham¬mad Abdullah. It was decided that the most suitable trib¬ute to perpetuate the memory of Sheikh Sahib would be to establish a 500-bedded hospital institute of medical sci¬ences at Soura, Srinagar which would offer medical facili¬ties to the people of the state. It was felt by many presents at the dinner that as a large amount of money and time would be required to build and commission such an institute, it would be better to first provide a basic medical and health care facility at Soura. To achieve this Sher-i-Kashmir na¬tional Medical Institute Trust was established to collect funds. The trust deed was signed on 19 May 1973 and a hospital with 30 beds established soon afterward.
When Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah became chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in 1975, the government decided to establish an institute of medical sciences at Soura. In pursuance of this decision, the Sher-i-Kashmir National Medical Institute trust offered land it held at Soura for the site of the institute. The area was 292 kanals and 8 Marlas and valued at Rs 11 696 000 as the site for the institute. An additional area of 214 kanals and 6 Marlas was donated by the government of Jammu & Kashmir.
The funds for constructing and equipping the insti¬tute were provided by the state government under fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth plan grants earmarked for the institute as the Planning Commission had approved it as a planned project. Construction commenced in 1976 and the institute was commissioned on 5 December 1982, the first birth anniversary following the unfortunate passing away of Sheikh Sahib.
The Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences is under the administrative control of a governing body, the chair¬man of which is the chief minister. The members of the governing body include cabinet ministers and four mem¬bers from the National Medical Institute Trust. The vice-chairman of the governing body is from the original trust¬ees. Five committees, subservient to the governing body which help to run the institute are The apical selection committee( employing faculty staff); academic commit¬tee; purchase committee; senior selection committee; and standing finance committee. The day-to-day running of the institute is controlled by the director and the dean of the medical faculty. The director is helped by the joint director. Administrative officers (policy and personnel) and three purchase officers who help buy indigenous and imported equipment. All these officials are housed in the administrative block. The hospital is run by a full-time medical superintendent who holds the rank of Professor and Head of Department of Hospital Administration. He is helped by three deputy medical superintendents and several senior residents and residents in the hospital’s administration department. This structure has been de¬signed to reduce bureaucratic delays and hasten the exe¬cution of administrative decisions regarding recruitment, purchases, personal affairs, and policies.
The institute staff council- consisting of the heads of departments, the hospital council, and the faculty council- meets regularly to discuss various institute matters. Maintenance is looked after by the engineering depart¬ment which is under the control of a full-time chief engi¬neer and several other engineers, technologists, and technicians.
The institute was designed to have 500 general beds and a paying ward with 100 beds. At present, there are 470 beds in 14 wards of the seven-storeyed hospital building. The paying ward is likely to be commissioned soon. In addi¬tion, the surgical intensive care and intensive cardiac care units have 7 beds each, neonatal intensive care 4 beds, postoperative ward 16 beds, postoperative observation area 6 beds, and an accident and emergency department with a strength of 14. There is an operating theatre wing with eleven suites: two each for open-heart surgery, neu¬rosurgery, general surgery, and surgical gastroenterology; one each for pediatric surgery and plastic surgery; and three suites for an accident and emergency surgery. The insti¬tute has a cobalt unit, a linear accelerator, CT scanner, a car¬diac catheterization laboratory, a neurological laboratory, and a gastrointestinal motility laboratory. There is also an electron microscope, two gamma cameras, and several units for ultrasonography and echocardiography. Two floors of the laboratory block house modern investigative equipment and a blood bank and laboratories for immu¬nology, clinical hematology, clinical biochemistry, micro¬biology, pathology, and clinical pharmacology. A research block and the modern animal house is situated next to this building.
The institute has a big complex of supportive services which include a kitchen, laundry, boiler house, central sterile service department, and a powerhouse. Faculty members are accommodated within the faculty houses. The residents live in quarters for married and unmarried doctors and the nursing staff in a hostel. The paramedical staff lives within the campus.128 Dr. Khuroo’s Common Topics on Health & Healthcare
The institute has 16 specialist clinical departments. These are for anesthesiology, cardiology, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, community medicine, endocrinol¬ogy, gastroenterology, general medicine, general surgery, medical oncology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology, neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, physical medicine and re¬habilitation, and radiotherapy. Investigative departments include those for blood transfusion and immunohema¬tology, clinical biochemistry, clinical hematology, clinical pharmacology, immunology, medical physics and bioen¬gineering, microbiology, nuclear medicine, pathology, and radiodiagnosis. The faculty strength of the institute is more than one hundred.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature has granted the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences the sta¬tus of a ‘deemed university’. Under this act, the institute has the power to grant degrees and diplomas in various disciplines. Postgraduate and postdoctoral training is pro¬vided in surgery, medicine, radiotherapy, anesthesiology, clinical biochemistry, clinical pharmacology, and nuclear medicine. Since 1984, 34 degrees have been granted and another 36 doctors are currently being trained. This program extended to DM, MCh, and Ph.D. courses in other departments.
The objectives envisaged by the government of Jammu & Kashmir in setting up an institute of medical sciences were to provide facilities for specialized medical care, need-oriented education in medical and health sciences, clinical research and to develop a referral linkage between the primary, secondary, and tertiary health care institu¬tions of the state. Our patients are now being looked after by all three tiers of the health care delivery system- prima¬ry care is done by the department of community medicine in the Hajan block of the valley, and secondary and tertiary health care by the polyclinic and referral Clinics of the institute. Sher-i-Kashmir’s dream is now a reality.