Advanced medical care for defence personnel in forward areas

Government is setting up advanced medical facilities in forward areas including Siachen and in the Northeast, Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services, Air Marshal DP Joshi, said.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 27, 2013, 22:04 PM IST

New Delhi: Government is setting up advanced medical facilities in forward areas including Siachen and in the Northeast, Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services, Air Marshal DP Joshi, said on Friday.

"We will be having a CT-scan centre at the base camp at Siachen. There is a surgeon, physician and medical staff and other facilities there.”

"There is a concerted proposal that we are going more eastwards. Since we are manning places like Dimapur, we are setting up advanced medical centres, so as to whenever there are casualties, it could be treated immediately," Joshi said.

Addressing a press conference on the 250th anniversary of the Army Medical Corps, Joshi said it was not only Siachen, but the Defence Ministry was working on having advanced medical treatment facilities in forward areas in Northeast as well.
"Places like Johrat and Guwahati have excellent medical centres. We are also planning to add MRI centres at these places," Joshi said.

He said if serious cases are brought in, they would be treated quickly and if the patient requires shifting to other centres, it could be done easily because of its good air bases.

He noted that the number of HIV cases has seen a decline not only in the country but also in the armed forces.

"The graph of HIV cases in the army has declined. In last year, we have not even boarded out anybody or nobody has died of AIDS," Joshi said.

He said after the Uttarkhand tragedy, in which a MI-17 V5 helicopter crashed killing 20 personnel, it was difficult to identify the badly damaged bodies.

"We have decided to maintain a DNA bank. We have trained people in Calcutta and Hyderabad for this project. We will keep the blood samples of all the new recruits stored and dispose them only after 10 years of their recruitment," Joshi said.

Joshi added that the Army, which is involved in conducting medical check-ups of the pilgrims, has noticed a significant reduction of deaths in Amarnath this year.

"The defence forces also did a commendable job in the relief work of Uttarakhand and Philian cyclone," he said.
Joshi said that medical wing of the armed forces has been participating in UN peacekeeping programmes and have even undertaken training for defence personnel of other countries. At present medical aid is being provided to Syria, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Sudan and SAARC nations.

"A 25-bed hospital in Male (Maldives) has been made fully functional. A team of two medical officers was sent to Kyrgystan as a part of defence cooperation to provide training to medical and nursing staff to be deployed in UN peacekeeping operations," Joshi said.

He added that 200 beds in the Armed Forces hospital, Pune were being made available for civilains and that the Maharashtra government was ready to take responsibility of it.

"We are going to ask the Government of India that wherever we have our nine regional centres, there should be a percentage of beds available for civilians, but the cost modalities have to be worked out," Joshi said.