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IIT Kharagpur to launch 400-bed super speciality hospital

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Ties up with ICMR to develop Centre of Excellence

Kharagpur city in Midnapur district of West Bengal is going to witness the launch of a super speciality hospital soon. In the first phase of the launch, the 400-bed hospital, Dr BC Roy Institute of Medical Science & Research, will have an OPD as well as inpatient specialities encompassing cardiology, cardiac surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, medical and surgical gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynaecology, urology and nephrology.

Says Prof SK Bhattacharyya, Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur, “A key initiative of the hospital would be to cater to the huge community who are currently away from the reach of super speciality healthcare services either due to distance or affordability. The hospital will be run on a cross-subsidy model in a not-for-profit mode. While 10 per cent of the beds would be free, 65 per cent of the beds would be charged as per the rates in the central and state health insurance schemes.”

The hospital has decided to set up mobile healthcare units to cater to the needs in the immediate neighbourhood. According to Dr  Satadal Saha, project director and Visiting Faculty, IIT Kharagpur, Anticipating a heavy influx of patients, the institute has decided to set up mobile units. Basic diagnostics and treatment will be done by these mobile units, which will reduce the patient load in the hospital.

The institute has already formed collaborations with All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, Tata Medical Center, South Eastern Railway Hospital. The institute has also set up a Common Research & Technology Development Hub supported by DSIR to promote healthcare technology innovation and supporting manufacturing by MSMEs.

Dr Saha adds, “Health ecosystem and not just a hospital, Dr BC Roy Institute of Medical Science & Research will cover the entire spectrum of tertiary healthcare, high-quality medical education (undergraduate and postgraduate), allied health education (nurses, allied health professionals), inter- and multi-disciplinary research that brings all three stakeholders – doctors, engineers and patents –together; rural primary care and public healthcare, technology innovations that work in the resource-constrained environment of extreme-point-of-care, and a sustainable model that holds the entire elements together in a synergistic manner.”

MBBS Programme

MBBS programme will be rolled out for 50 students in phase I. The course curriculum will be as per MCI guidelines. There is a further plan to extend the number of seats to 100 with the scaling up of the hospital to 750-bed in phase II. Postgraduate degrees will be introduced eventually.

Healthcare data sciences and data analytics would also be among the primary thrust areas as IIT Kharagpur ventures deeper into medical research.

While the MBBS and postgraduate degrees along with the academic affairs will be managed by IIT Kharagpur,  the day-to-day hospital management will be run by the special purpose vehicle floated under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. The hospital’s board of directors will be headed by the IIT Kharagpur director and will include senior IIT faculty.

The launch

The phase I of the IIT Kharagpur super speciality hospital was scheduled to start its outpatient department in June-July. Registrar Prof Bhrigu Nath Singh said, “We were ready with the structural construction though the handover from the construction company L&T was not taken due to some LAN, integration of modular OTs and few services lifts related works which are going on and expected to be completed shortly after lockdown period is over. Most of the medical equipment for OPD was already procured, hiring of medical doctors/visiting consultants/staff was going on since last year, advertisements were already placed for Medical Superintendent and Chief Administrative Officer.”

Due to COVID lockdown, the plan to launch the hospital had to be stalled. The work will resume only after the situation normalises following a revised schedule with the OPD launch expected to be postponed until the end of this year.

Managing the dual disasters of COVID-19 and cyclone Amphan

Regarding COVID-19, all circulars issued by MoH&FW, MHA and MHRD have been duly followed. The institute has set up systems for social distancing at areas which attract crowd such as markets, shops, hospital, entry gate. PPEs have been supplied adequately and campus residents have been made aware of the sanitising and social distancing protocols through various avenues. A single gate is being used for entry and exit of essential service providers. Several of them have been accommodated at the vacant accommodation facilities to minimise movement from outside the campus. Disinfection and sanitisation facilities have been set up near the entry gate. Also, the temperature is being checked.

Further funds have been set up to support economically weaker sections of the society who are dependent on the campus community and institutional services during the lockdown period and the period following it.

An alumni from the US and India have donated generously towards this fund. Essential products like ration, soap, PPE are being given to the affected people (10500+ people from 2000+ families). Also, essential service providers such as security, sanitation workers etc are being given additional funding directly to their bank account.

Centre of Excellence

IIT Kharagpur will also witness the launch of a Centre of Excellence on medical devices and diagnostics to foster innovation of affordable and indigenous medical devices and diagnostics in priority areas and promote entrepreneurship. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has accepted the proposal and a fund of Rs 20 crore has been provided to the institute.

The centre of excellence will also help the institute achieve its goals for the upcoming super speciality hospital.

According to a statement issued by the institute, the centre will target to develop marketable technologies in a mission-oriented time frame and use this experience to achieve longer-term goals to address challenging problems in the field of medical devices and diagnostics. Also, new intellectual property generation and a clearly defined licensing path will be the priority of the centre. Further, the centre will try to extend medical technology-related support to other organisations including different centres of ICMR.

IIT Kharagpur has also set up research funding for R&D work related to COVID-19. Eight projects have been approved by the institute to take up the mission.

As per the statement issued by the institute, researchers would be working on several technologies including design and development of the rapid diagnostic kit, real-time PCR machine, bodysuit for COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and portable shredder integrated with bootstrapping Ambu-bag as an automated ventilator, telemedicine for fighting the viral pandemic, large scale production of recombinant proteins for vaccine and testing.

An amount of Rs 50 Lakh has been allotted for phase I of eight projects towards the development of prototypes. The phase I is expected to start immediately after the lockdown is relaxed.

The institute faced certain challenges while procuring the raw materials due to the lockdown where researchers who left the campus were not being able to join back work which delayed the R&D activity.

Kharagpur till now didn’t witness a single case of COVID-19 positive patients.

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