ahaON July 11, the State Government appointed Director of North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shilong, Dr AG Ahangar, as new Director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura following the superannuation of his predecessor Dr Showkat Zargar. Hailing from Medura village in Tral area of Pulwama district, Dr Ahangar was on deputation to the Union Health Ministry after he was appointed by the Ministry as the Director NEIGRIHMS in June 2012. An order issued by the Government (No. 403-HME/2016) confirmed the appointment of the former head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department of the Institute for the top position.

          Talking to Kashmir Leader, after taking over the charge, Dr Ahangar said his top priority would be the patient care and making the institute the hub of the research. “This is an opportunity for me to contribute for the uplift of the institute. My focus will be to try and make it one of the best research institutes in India and at the same time focus on the patient care,” said Dr Ahangar who has who has MCh in cardiac surgery from PGI Chandigarh.

         “This institute (SKIMS) isn’t only a hospital but a medical university where research would be given preference.” To begin with, in a goodwill gesture, the Director has decided to do away with all the checking points inside the hospital for the relief of patients and attendants. “A hospital is meant to provide relief to patients and ensure their hassle free movement as well as access to different facilities inside the hospital,” said Dr Ahangar. He has also decided to do away with the evening-entry charge at the institute for the relief of the patients and their attendants.

           A visitor to the hospital at the evening had to pay Rs 100 as entry fee between 6 pm to 8 pm, a decision that had come under severe criticism in the past. “We will be providing free of cost treatment to the cancer patients at the Institute apart from providing them free of cost transport facility to and from their homes,” said Dr Ahangar, adding the territary care would be the priority under his charge. For the first time the hospital would be throwing open the lawns and gardens insides the premises of the institute for the patients. Most of the parks around the institute had been sealed by the iron grill with no access to the patients or their attendants. Doctors as well as the patients and their attendants have welcomed the pro-patient steps taken by the incumbent Director.

      Dr Ahangar is presently member of various research committees including member Appraisal Forum for High Power Committee Report on Indian Council of Medical Research constituted by Union health Ministry and member Expert Advisory Committee for Treatment Protocols, AIIMS, New Delhi. During his tenure at the NEIGRIHMS, Dr Ahangar’s performance in building up the National Institution in Infrastructure, manpower management, Tertiary care and academicscum- research in Medicare has been widely appreciated by one and all.

      Also the member of Standing Academic Committee, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Dr Ahangar was appointed as member of the Mental Health Policy Group, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and given a role in Medical Council of India Assessor for Post Doctoral Studies and Diploma in National Board of Examinations all over India after the authorities concerned recognized his role in the medical field. Last time, Dr Ahangar’s had been shortlisted for the post of the Director SKIMS but the government had finally given nod to the appointment of Dr Zargar who attainted superannuation in June this year. Following the delay in the appointment of the Director large number of faculty and other employees of the institute had appealed the Chief Minister to appoint the Director of tertiary care hospital on merit basis to ensure streamlining of SKIMS which has been hogging the headlines for all wrong reasons.

        The appointment of DR Ahangar has been welcomed by different associations at the institute. “We are optimistic that the new director will strive for achieving excellence in the field of patient care and research during his tenure,” said a senior doctor at the institute. Sources at the institute told the Kashmir Leader that in the wake of the present unrest in the Valley following the killing of the top militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the priority of the institute has been to ensure quality treatment to persons injured during the past 20 days. “There are strict directions from the Director in this regard. He has been personally taking stock of the situation at the institute,” said the sources.