Guna Muppuri’s Bioprist Institute of Medical Sciences, BIMS, part of its multi-billion dollar Grand Ridge Medical City health tourism project, could be assured of its first cohort of students in an effort currently underway to recruit Indian and Jamaican medical students whose studies in Ukraine were cut short by the Russian invasion and continued indiscriminate bombing of military, residential, civilian, economic and social infrastructure targets in its European neighbor from the east.
The doctor and entrepreneur is also bidding for the closed El Greco resort in his hometown of Montego Bay as a residential campus for BIMS.
Muppuri would not say much about ongoing talks for ownership of the hotel which is owned by the National Insurance Fund, and which the Jamaican government has signaled will not be reopened as a commercial operation run by the State, but could be sold with its sister property, the Hotel Braco Village in Trelawny.
“It’s too early to say much about that. We will present a formal proposal to the government. It would certainly be an interesting use of the property which has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic,” Muppuri told the financial gleaner this week.
The businessman is believed to be seeking a lease, with an option to buy the 92-room hotel which shares entrances and other amenities with strata society Montego Bay Club and other private residences on the Queen’s Drive property. Following the furlough of its 60 staff in March 2020, the hotel was used by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as a government quarantine site for people who tested positive for COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic. .
BIMS outreach to displaced medical students from Ukrainian universities is currently underway in India and Jamaica, in what Muppuri said was a solution, in part, to a major crisis. Indian recruitment is assisted by the Indian High Commission in Jamaica.
Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Rungsung Masakui said just over 18,000 medical students studying in Ukraine have been evacuated from the war-torn country and are now back in India with their studies interrupted.
“We are happy that they are safe, but now it is about their future and what they do with their studies. Some arrangements are being made in neighboring countries like Poland for some of them to be housed in other medical schools, but you are talking about thousands of them. We are happy that Dr Muppuri has taken the responsibility of trying to do something for them, ”the high commissioner told the financial gleaner.
Masakui has written to several Indian state governments where most of the students reside, asking for their help in disseminating information about the enrollment offer.
The presence of more Indian medical students in Jamaica would be an improvement in bilateral relations between the two countries, he said. As part of this relationship, the Government of India is currently offering five scholarships for Jamaicans to study for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as to conduct doctoral research at Indian universities, including the Indian Institute of Technology, starting in August this year.
The Bioprist Institute of Medical Sciences is due to open next year and, under a memorandum of understanding signed with the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, in May last year, it will serve as the faculty of UWI West Campus Medicine. UWI Mona said she would engage BIMS to develop and implement training programs for healthcare professionals.
The medical school, part of Muppuri’s Bioprist Group, which includes listed drug developer and distributor Indies Pharma Jamaica Limited and its outsourcing business Bioprist Knowledge Park, is reportedly awaiting charter and accreditation approvals from regulators. Jamaicans, including the Ministry of Health. & Wellness and the University Council of Jamaica.
Other property acquisition arrangements to provide accommodation for BIMS students are also being pursued by Muppuri, which declined to disclose details of pending business deals, citing the sensitive and confidential nature of ongoing negotiations.
While accreditations and accommodation approvals are pending, Muppuri has partnered with the American University of Antigua, AAU, which has offered 180 places to students whose studies have been disrupted by the Russian invasion and the bombing of Ukraine. The plan is for students to spend a year in residency at the Antigua Medical School and, afterward, transfer to the Montego Bay facility, if desired. More students can also be accommodated through the AAU online program. They too would have the possibility of changing to continue their studies at BIMS.
Following a meeting between Muppuri and a team from the AAU, led by its president, Neal Simon, the Antigua institution’s offer was communicated in a letter dated March 8, 2022, which was seen by the Financial gleaner.
“AUA welcomes the opportunity to work with you and your university in this humanitarian initiative, helping students in Ukraine. While we recognize that medical education comes at a cost, our goal is to get students out of harm’s way. and in a safe learning environment. We can settle the tuition issue once the students are safe, taking into account their current expenses and circumstances,” said the AAU Vice President for Administration and Community Affairs, Vernon Solomon.
“It is envisaged that by working together on this, the possibility of students losing an academic year will not occur; except for a minimum loss of three to six months, if we have to upgrade them in the process of aligning them with our program,” he wrote.
The BIMS program is expected to begin with training physicians, but later expand to include dentistry, nursing, and chiropractic health. A 300-bed teaching and research hospital is part of the concept which, Muppuri points out, fits naturally into the upper end of the knowledge process outsourcing industry spectrum, in which it is an operator. major.
BIMS and the larger Grand Ridge Medical City project are backed and marketed by the state investment promotion agency, Jampro.
The medical tourism project is designed to be a special economic zone focused on health and wellness located on land acquired by Muppuri in Ironshore, an upscale community in suburban Montego Bay.
Medical science educator, Dr. Cheryl Bennett, is provost of BIMS, while former CEO of the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority and associate professor at Caribbean Maritime University, Dr. Eric Deans, as well as the lawyer Denise Kitson, QC, are among the board members of the institute.