MCI may make 1 year’s of Rural Posting Mandatory; need more two weeks to work on
India is planning to make its undergraduate MBBS course six
and a half years long, instead of the present five and a half years. In a meeting
on Saturday, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Medical Council of India (MCI)
discussed amending the MCI Act that would make a one year rural posting compulsory
for all MBBS students before they can become doctors. The proposal was first
mooted by former health minister, A Ramadoss in 2007. Speaking to TOI, MCI chairman
Dr. K. K. Talwar said, it is not that we have cleared the proposal. This was discussed
on Saturday. In another two weeks time, we will prepare a module on how we can make
MBBS doctors go and work in rural areas. The ministry will then take a call. Talwar,
however, cautioned we haven’t yet decided to introduce the six and a half year MBBS
course from the next year.
The proposal is still in planning stages now. According to Talwar, if the proposal
is cleared, 40,000 medical students will be utilized for a year in the National
Rural Health Mission. Medicine is a long career. One year of rural posting, in which
students will be exposed to unique cases and diseases will only do them good. However,
“the students will not be paid as interns but as doctors during that extra year
of rural posting”, Talwar said. India is facing an acute shortage of human resources
in health the brunt of which is borne by the flagship NRHM. The vulnerable population
in rural, tribal and hilly areas is extremely underserved. In 2006, only 26% of
doctors in India lived in rural areas, serving 72% of the population.
A study found that the urban density of doctors was about four times that of rural
areas, and that of nurses, about three times higher. As of March, 2010, undue delays
in recruitments resulted in vacancies even in available posts at health centres.
Over 34% of male health workers, 38% of radiographers, 16% of laboratory technicians,
31% of specialists, 20% of pharmacists and 17% of ANMs and 10% of doctors’ posts
were lying vacant. As per a Planning Commission study, the country is short of six
lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and 2 lakh dental surgeons, leading to a dismal doctor-patient
ratio. An earlier ministry report had pointed out that while only 6.3% of the posts
for doctors were vacant on paper, a staggering 67% of them played truant.
Courtesy: Times of India