SKIMS was conceived way back in 1975, decades earlier than what the authorities are planning now. We have to accept that an institute of such magnitude presently is almost inconceivable, not to talk about the same in seventies. Not everybody but only one dynamic personality, late Jenab Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, had this vision, and the strength to build this marvel. An institute ideally is a handiwork of nation but he singlehandedly showed it the light of the day. On 14th November 1978 the foundation stone was laid and on 5th December 1982 SKIMS was thrown open to public. It is in its 37th year of its existence and has lived beyond its expectations.
The primary aim of SKIMS was to stop patients to move outside the valley for undergoing treatment and it has succeeded on this front. Patient care is to be the primary aim and the increase in the patients seen/admitted over years justifies that claim. Many patients from Jammu and adjacent districts have reposed faith in SKIMS and reported here for their treatment many a times. From cardiological interventions to lithotripsy to state of art linear accelerator radio therapy, to sophisticated operations to complex laboratory investigation, to digital subtraction angiography, to PET scanning- you name it and it is done here. Rarely now is a patient referred to a higher specialized center for management. Many patient friendly approaches have been devised and many more are in pipeline. Availability of drugs and surgical consumables at subsidized rates at the drug counter has gone a long way to alleviate the suffering of the patients. A high end digital subtraction vascular lab, state-of-the-art gastroenterology lab, separate sub-specialties, expansion in OT and OPD as well as emergency services has been added to aid in diagnostics and therapeutics. A new geriatric, cancer center and addition of more ICU beds are in pipeline.
SKIMS is a deemed university that is actively involved in imparting quality education and training to the aspirants of the highest standard in different disciples of medicine, surgery, non-clinical and laboratory fields. It offers post-doctoral (DM/M Ch), doctoral (Ph D), post graduate (MD/MS), undergraduate (MBBS), BSc and MSc in laboratory fields, MSc and BSc in Nursing courses. It has produced scores of super specialists, hundreds of post graduates in medicine and surgery, nursing and laboratory personnel, thus giving skilled personnel who have contributed in enhancing the health care delivery system in the valley and beyond. New courses at the level of undergraduate, graduate, post graduate and post-doctoral are being increasingly recognized by the national authorities. SKIMS has set up a bench mark of research which is of high standard and gets published in national and international journals which has brought SKIMS in the eyes of the world. Each year hundreds of seminars, symposia, workshops, conferences, debates, guest lectures are held to update the staff on the latest happenings in the field of medicine.
SKIMS never rested in the unrest, it never slept once the valley would sleep at 5 pm and it never refused anyone who was refused in peripheries. For this is the place a poor or rich, sick or dying, young or old, desperate or desolate will come at times his health deteriorates and all the existing health care facilities in the periphery may raise their hands in despair.
All of us need to remember that SKIMS is not a natural resource but a man made and managed system that is supposed to excel and provide the best but as well is bound to have deficiencies, faults and limitations. It is about five battalions of manpower, thousands of machines, innumerable procedures, daily files, routine government norms and much more and in this huge endeavor there ought to be dearth. But let all of us close it on this that SKIMS is a premier medical center and a deemed university which is providing high quality patient care, academic courses to produce trained and skilled manpower and is involved in need based biomedical research. On 5th December let us remind ourselves that SKIMS is an asset for the state and let us all continue to build it at par with the best institutes of India.
Dr Muzafar Maqsood Wani is Consultant Nephrologist, SKIMS, Soura. (firstname.lastname@example.org)