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Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad Monday, 23rd April, 2012, favored increasing the duration of the MBBS course from the existing 5.5 years to 6.5 years and said the Medical Council of India (MCI) was working on the proposal. “I don’t mind increasing the duration of MBBS to 6.5 years. In the US, students have to go for six years of additional study as compared to Indian students to be able to prescribe medicines and practise. What is the harm in having one more year of MBBS study in India,” he said when asked what the Government was doing about the proposed MCI move.
The Minister said mandatory rural posting for doctors was also being mulled. “Yes we are thinking on those lines. We are short of seven lakh doctors in villages,” he said. The proposed one year increase in MBBS duration is being contemplated to set aside the additional year for mandatory rural service of MBBS graduates. The proposal is to award the MBBS degree only after the completion of 5.5 years of regular MBBS course and one year of rural posting which would be linked to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The proposal comes in the wake of poor healthcare facilities in rural India and government aiming at providing better medical treatment and facilities to the rural population. The government has also focused much attention on its flagship NRHM program, on which a major chunk of the country’s health budget is spent for provision of improved healthcare facilities in rural areas of the country.
Docs going to US to sing bond:
Azad also said that any doctor going to the US for higher medical studies would have to sign a bond with it before leaving and honor the document by returning to India after finishing the study period. “From this year onwards, any student going for further medical education to the US will have to give us a bond that he will come back after finishing the studies. In the last three years, 3000 doctors went abroad for studies and did not return. Now if a student does not come back from the US, he won’t be allowed to practice there,” he said. He said the US from this year onwards is insisting on a government NOC to every student enrolling with an American institute for studies. “No other country except the US is asking for this NOC. Those who apply to go to the US for studies from 2012 will have to give us a bond saying they would come back after finishing the studies. If they don’t fulfill the bond obligation, we can write to the US to deny the student permission to practice,” Azad told reporters. The minister also expressed the hope that the MCI will give its approval to the proposed three-year Bachelor of Rural Health Care course, which seeks to create a separate cadre of public health professionals in the country to serve in rural areas. He said the doctors’ organizations were not interested in the course. “Doctors’ organizations are opposing the course. I have no hesitation in saying that they have a vested interest to increase their practice,” Azad said. He added, there was a paucity of doctors in primary health centres as doctors only wanted to stay in urban areas.
Courtesy: Greater Kashmir
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