Future of KEM Hospital Research Center a Prespective
Dr. V. N. Rao
The KEM Hospital Research Center has, over the last two and half decades, established itself as a research center with national and international recognition. It has the capacity of carrying out problem–oriented problem solving applied research. KEM Hospital Research Center has so far focused on a range of research activities, covering various problems in the field of health, clinical medicines and social sciences, with greater attention to women and children. The emphasis has been on clinical, clinical–cum–laboratory and field operational research. The spectrum of research activities has been wide ranging keeping in focus our mission and our vision. The Research Center is looking forward to a promising future. While entering the next millennium, the Center will be consolidating its gains and anticipating expansion. The Research Center has already started working in this direction and plans are on to convert the KEM Hospital Research Center into a more comprehensive institution encompassing research, training and development activities. The Research Center will thus soon become “KEM Hospital Research, Training and Women's Development Center.”
Already the Research Center has taken up a major RCH Training Programme as a collaborating agency for the Government of India for Training of Trainers in the States of Maharashtra and Goa and the Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli. Also training of grass root level workers working in Government and NGO sectors in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Pune Districts have been started under the Basic Health Programme. Short courses for training are also being conducted for other NGOs within the state and outside. Students from other parts of the country and abroad also come to the Research Center for doing their electives. CME (Continued Medical Education) programmes are being regularly conducted by the various clinical departments for private practitioners and post graduate students. Thus a firm base has already been laid for conducting training. The training capabilities will now be further strengthened and training activities will be expanded with emphasis on practical and on the job training.
The recipient of services is the community. But so far little attention has been given to involving the community in its own medical and health care. There has to be a paradigm shift in thinking. Future activities of the community aware of its health and medical problems, individually and collectively and taking cognizance of them towards finding feasible solutions through its own efforts. Undoubtedly the State has a stake and a mandatory role to play in this regard. The Research Center will concentrate on making the efforts of the State more effective and efficient to reach the needy.
While community participation in health care activities is a must, strengthening of community based institutions towards achieving this must receive the highest priority. Women and children are the vulnerable groups in the community. Towards achieving the goal of getting women involved in health and developmental activities, empowering them to make them self–reliant and self confident is imperative. Women constituting themselves into Women’s Groups (Mahila Mandals) and Youth into Youth Groups (Yuvak & Yuvati Mandals) and setting up of self–help groups are the steps which have already proved to be fruitful and these will have to be vigorously promoted and pursued. Vocational training towards skill development should be universalized encompassing all sections of population, particularly the deprived and disadvantaged, and covering vast areas. In this context the next millennium should concentrate on setting up several demonstration centers to give a boost to this infrastructural development activity.
Yet another area where a major thrust is needed is the empowerment of Panchayat Raj Institutions. Apart from imparting knowledge on the functioning of the Panchayat Raj, especially after wide powers have been given to these institutions, facilitating the Panchayats to function more effectively and efficiently through micro–planning needs to be given particular attention and priority.
Science is progressing very fast, but alongside diseases are changing their pattern and new diseases are emerging. While some of the existing diseases like Tuberculosis, Malaria, Leprosy, HIV/AIDS etc. yet remain to be effectively controlled/eradicated newer challenges like cardio vascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and a host of other diseases of stress and strain as well as those related to environment and life styles, and geriatric problems are on the ascendancy in alarming proportions. The Research Center will have to brace itself to get involved in facing these challenges.
There is already an explosion of technology and it is going to become manifold in the next millennium. Information Technology should therefore receive highest priority. Its adoption and application to the local situation will be the greatest challenge which the Research Center will have to accept.
In short, KEM Hospital Research Center will get involved in all the above challenges of the next millennium towards finding feasible solutions. Thus, the task is formidable but not impossible. The KEM Hospital Research Center will face the 21st Century with confidence, sure of continuing its good work even as it looks forward to expanding its horizons.