Finally, good days seem to be ahead for the crisis-ridden Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS). Padma Shri Dr L Narendranath, a senior doctor of the institute, will take over as its new director. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy cleared the appointment based on the recommendation made by a search committee constituted by the State Government.
A senior orthopaedic, who spent close to three decades at NIMS in various capacities, Narendranath is known for his integrity, a quality acutely lacking in the institute which has always been embroiled in controversies. In fact, the last director had to quit under a cloud when his decisions were called into question including by the High Court.
The search panel, comprising the Health Minister, senior AIIMS professional Dr Srinath Reddy and Principal Secretary (Health) Ajay Sawhney, is said to have strongly recommended the appointment of Narendranath after interacting with five short-listed candidates from among the 20-odd, including some from outside the State, who had applied for the post. Though at one time, the government considered bringing in an outsider from another state, the idea was dropped following a consensus that bringing NIMS, which enjoys the status of a deemed university with faculty drawn from across the country, back on rails would be possible only for an insider with insight into what is going wrong.
Narendranath, who has attained superannuation on Saturday in his present position as Associate Dean, will have a three-year tenure as director. With both Osmania and Gandhi hospitals perennially suffering from lack of facilities, NIMS is the only one left in the public sector which is in a position to provide affordable medicare to the poor and middle classes. However, over the years, the quality of medicare at NIMS too has been going down raising concerns among public health professionals.
In fact, launch of the other campus of NIMS at Bibinagar — meant to serve the needy from Telangana districts such as Nalgonda and Warangal — has also been hit by hurdles including alleged irregularities. Among the many tasks ahead of him, Narendranath will have to get the campus going.