Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha today addressed the 39th Annual Day celebrations of SKIMS and e-Inaugurated and laid e-foundation stones of several projects on the occasion.

While addressing the gathering through virtual mode, the Lt Governor observed that SKIMS has played an indispensable role in the healthcare system of UT.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor also congratulated the administration, faculty, and students of SKIMS, and all those who were awarded for their exemplary work in the challenging times of Covid.

“I express gratitude to all the doctors, nurses, ward boys, ambulance drivers, and all other supporting staff who have worked selflessly during the two waves of COVID”, the Lt Governor said lauding the invaluable contribution of countless health workers in the fight against the pandemic.

The Lt Governor said that due to the collective efforts of everyone and the hard work of medical personnel, Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as a role model in the entire country in covid management and vaccination.

Underscoring the commitment of UT government to continuously strengthen the health system and to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to all, especially in rural areas, the Lt Governor observed that J&K has the highest share of 5% budget allocation in the health sector across the country.

“We are spending Rs 7,177 crore to strengthen the infrastructure of the health sector. In the last one year, 94 health projects have been completed by spending Rs 881 crore, substantially augmenting resources for citizens”, he added.

The Lt Governor also recalled the efforts of covid warriors and the steps taken by the UT administration to ramp up the capacities of health infrastructure during the two waves of Covid. “Our oxygen generation capacity has increased manifold to 1 lakh LPM from just 14,000 LPM last year, and to deal with any emergency, Covid Care Centers have also been kept functional in 4290 Panchayats, he added.

The efforts of the UT government to augment the necessary arrangements and to make the facilities accessible to the patients and the common people, down to the level of Panchayats have been acknowledged in the report of NITI Aayog, observed the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who has transformed the health sector of Jammu and Kashmir. He observed that J&K used to have only three medical colleges but now there are seven new medical colleges, almost doubling the 600 MBBS seats to 1100 seats. In addition to it, J&K is the first in the country to have two AIIMS, two Cancer Institutes, besides the number of Health and wellness centres have increased to 1275 after the year 2019, from just 129 and 10 new nursing colleges for the UT have been given by the Prime Minister.

J&K has a unique health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat-SEHAT, under which every family is covered for five lakh medical insurance, but before 2019 there was no government health insurance scheme in J&K, he added.

The Lt Governor concluded his address observing that the threat of corona pandemic is not over yet. “A new variant of Covid “Omicron” has emerged and I urge everyone to follow Covid protocol to prevent the third wave”, he said.

Earlier, the Lt Governor dedicated to the patients the new Neuro Sciences ICU, Pulmonary ICU at Infectious Diseases Block, Obstetrics and Gynecology ICU, Geriatric Medicine Ward, State Cancer Institute OPD Complex, Waiting Hall Emergency Medicine, and Extension of Staff Canteen, New CSSD, besides laying e-foundation stones of new College of Paramedical Sciences, Advanced Pediatrics Centre, 1000 seated Auditorium, Construction of Library Block and Separate OPD Block.

Various HoDs and doctors were also felicitated on the occasion for their exemplary services.

Sh Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lt Governor in his speech said that the SKIMS is providing invaluable services to the citizens of UT and has always stood at front in case of any exigency. He added that the institute provides technologically sound and evidence-based health care services to the general public.

Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, New Delhi, in his speech highlighted the importance of the institute and said that in coming years it will be an institute of national repute.

Dr. Guleria while delivering a presentation on ‘Lessons learnt from COVID-19’ said that the pandemic has impacted every fabric of society and it will stay and, therefore we need to invest more in public health services and pandemic preparedness. He added that social distancing and masks are still the best measures to contain spread of pandemic.

Director SKIMS, Dr. A.G Ahangar in his speech gave a detailed overview of the various health services provided by the institute to the general public.

Former Director SKIMS and Chairman Apex Advisory Committee COVID-19, Dr. M.S Khuroo, Deans, Faculty Members, Senior Doctors, Covid Warriors, Nursing Staff, Members of Support Staff of SKIMS were present on the occasion.

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