02 June 2011
By D Madhavan
On November 1, 2008, the then union minister for health and family welfare, Anbumani Ramdoss, laid the foundation stone for the Rs 28 crore–Indian Institute of Advanced Nursing at Tambaram Sanatorium. Little work has happened since then. "As many organisations, both public and private, are involved, mobilisation of funds and co–ordination between different organisations have been challenges in executing the project," sources in the state health department told The Times Of India.
The nursing institute – a unique public–private partnership venture with state–ofthe–art facilities – was dedicated to train nurses providing healthcare to HIV patients in the country. A joint venture of the Union ministry of health and family welfare, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS), Indian Nursing Council, William J Clinton Foundation and Yale University, the institute was slated to come up on a five–acre plot near the National Institute of Siddha at the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine (GHTM).
The idea to set up such an institute, according to sources, was that the GHTM is not only a centre of excellence for treating HIVpositive persons in the country but is also the largest hospital in giving treatment for these patients in the country. At present, the hospital gives treatment for around 4,000 HIVpositive persons. "The institute was also aimed to act as a national hub for nursing, research and training in HIV/AIDS–related cases," sources added.
As per plan, the union health ministry has given Rs 5 crore as seed money for the Rs 28–crore project. The Clinton Foundation is responsible for raising the rest of the funds, and Yale University will provide expertise in training. On its part, the state government through TANSACS has given the land for the institute. The feasibility study for the project was done in 2006 by the Union health ministry through NACO.
At present, the state has around 10% of the total HIV affected persons in the country and ranks fourth after Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
There is a shortage of 15 lakh nurses in the public health sector in India. During the 11th Plan, the Centre had allotted Rs. 3,900 crore to the nursing sector alone for building human resources, expanding infrastructure and creating four centres of excellence in Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. In Tamil Nadu, the state government had granted permission to the private sector for starting 50 nursing schools and colleges.