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A body of doctors from the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar has urged Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya not to rename AIIMS centers across the country.

Although the name change has not been officially announced, an official from the Union Health Ministry had said The Hindu last month that the the 23 AIIMS centers will be renamed after freedom fighters, regional heroes, historical events, notable monuments or the distinct geographical identity of the areas where they are located.

The official said most of the 23 facilities submitted a list of names after the Health Ministry asked for suggestions.

In its letter dated Sunday, the Association of Resident Doctors of AIIMS Bhubaneswar said while the nationalist sentiments behind the initiative are to be appreciated, they do not want the names to be changed.

“The label ‘AIIMS’ indicates that they are the premier tertiary health institutes at the same level as AIIMS Delhi,” the body of doctors said. “These are examples of excellence in health care and health education, with standards strictly regulated by the Government of India.”

Changing the names would lead to a “loss of identity” among trainee doctors and deter those who aspire to become doctors from choosing AIIMS to pursue their careers, the Association of Medical Residents said in its letter.

The body of doctors has asked the Ministry of Health to continue with the current institute naming format – “AIIMS” followed by the name of the city. He cited examples of Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management centers being named using the same format.

Following the government’s proposal, Indian Institute of Medical Sciences Faculty Association Delhi had written to its members to seek their views on this issue.

In their letter, the faculty had stated that if the identity of AIIMS was abandoned, its institutional recognition would be lost both in the country and abroad.

Dr. Achal Kumar Srivastava, the president of the association, had also said in the letter that since identity is tied to name, famous and established institutes have had the same names for centuries.

“The sense of identity is so strong that KolkataBombay and Madras Universities continue to have the same name even though the cities they are located in have changed names to Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai,” the letter adds, according to ANI.