110 cadets commissioned into the Armed Forces Medical Services, to join 31 AFMS COVID care hospitals across the country

Published : May 15, 2021 19:40 IST

The newly commissioned medical officers of the 55th (C3) batch of the Armed Forces Medical College. Photo: PIB (Defence Wing), Pune


For the 110 medical cadets, including 21 female cadets, of the 55th (C3) batch of the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, Maharashtra, who were commissioned as Medical Officers in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) on May 15, it was a commissioning with a difference. For the first time in nearly four decades, the seeped-in- tradition of the passing out parade was done away with owing to COVID-19 restrictions.

And that was not all. With India battling the pandemic and the Narendra Modi government leaning heavily on the armed forces to aid the civilian medical personnel, the preparatory period for commissioning of this graduating batch was curtailed from the normal four to five weeks to just two weeks. The preparatory period was utilised to provide intensive training “to specifically prepare these young doctors to work in COVID-19 care settings”.

The 110 commissioned medical officers are being posted as interns in 31 AFMS hospitals across the country. All the 31 hospitals have been designated as COVID care hospitals for both serving personnel of the armed forces, veterans and civilians.

Commissioned by AFMC Commandant Lt Gen Nardeep Naithani in a brief ceremony, 94 of the 110 medical cadets were commissioned into the Indian Army while 10 were commissioned into the Indian Air Force and six into the Indian Navy. The newly commissioned medical officers were administered the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India by Colonel Training, AFMC, Col A.K. Shakya.

Besides intensive training on COVID-19 care, the officers also completed the American Heart Association (AHA) certified course in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).

In his address congratulating the newly commissioned officers, Gen Naithani said that the batch had the unique distinction of having enrolled together at the AFMC in 2016 and graduating together with a 100 per cent success, which itself was the best tribute to the teachers at the AFMC. Reminding the graduating batch that they were joining the medical profession at a time when the country was passing through a difficult phase, he exhorted them to put their knowledge and skills acquired at the AFMC to provide the best possible care to their patients as they “join India’s battle against COVID-19 as COVID warriors”.

Besides designating several AFMS hospitals as COVID care centres across the country and allowing access to civilians at these hospitals, the Army Medical Corps is also utilising the specialised medical services of its veterans, who are now manning the e-Sanjeevani free online consultation services on the e-Sanjeevani platform.

e-Sanjeevani OPD is a Government of India flagship telemedicine platform, developed by the C-DAC, Mohali, under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It facilitates free online medical consultation to all citizens of India and provides for online prescription of medicines.

Ex-Defence OPD was launched on May 7 in a phased manner by Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, and Surgeon Vice Admiral Rajat Datta, Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services. Initially available in Uttar Pradesh, it was extended to Rajasthan on May 10 and Uttarakhand on May 11 as more veteran defence volunteer doctors came onboard. As of today, 85 veteran defence doctors are providing their services on the portal and have provided online consultation to more than 1,000 patients.

After the successful roll-out in three States, Ex-Defence OPD, now renamed as Defence National OPD, has been rolled out across India on May 14 and is available on www.esanjeevaniopd.in.

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