Government introduces Rural Healthcare course for medicos and also gives extra marks to force rural work down their throats Featured

Medical community upset over Government's new rural work decree Medical community upset over Government's new rural work decree

medical-equipments1In yet another measure that has not gone down too well with the medical fraternity, the Union Health Minister is introducing a course called Bachelor of Rural Healthcare (BRHC). This course requires medical students to work in rural areas for a particular time period. But you may say, 'so students can choose to either do the course or not. What is irksome about it?' Surya Ragunaathan finds out.

The fact is that the government in his big plans for National Rural Health Mission recently included various measures its going to take to improve rural health scenario. And not only was this course intrioduced in the government's written reply to the Lok Sabha, but also some new guidelines for Post Graduate Medical education was introduced.

One of them being, a 50 per cent reservation quota for medical officers in government service. Also, as an added incentive, there will be a 10 per cent increase in the students'' PG marks for each year served in the rural sector. A three-year term will earn doctors an astonishing 30% (the maximum allowed) in the entrance exams for various PG medical courses.

The Union Health Minister said that that this is the only way to address the staff shortage being faced currently in rural hospitals. Says Dr. Varun Gandhi, senior faculty member, AIIMS, "It seems like daydream to me considering that the government hasn't bothered to fulfil our staff shortage in the first place. But its working towards sending students to the rural sectors. Why would let our students go when we ourselves need more staff here?"

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which treats 10,000 patients a day to attend OPDs alone, is handicapped by a terrible shortage of manpower. Around 303 posts lie vacant at the top most medical institute in India. Nearly 47 posts of professors, additional professors (9), associate professors (16) and nursing lecturers (13) are lying empty. Says Mihir Mishra, communications, AIIMS, "With so many posts lying vacant at faculty level, it would be practically difficult for the Institute to maintain high standards of patient care and teaching for which it has been known for decades. Nearly 1,468 posts in total at AIIMS lie vacant."

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) opposed to the BRHC course and also opposed to the compulsory rural working scheme. Speaking to Gyancentral, one of the members, Dr. Shushant Shukla said, "Nobody should be forced to work with the rural sector. It should be a voluntary act. We have suggested the following counter-proposals to the government."

a) An increased retirement age of 65 for current doctors

b) Re-employ retired doctors with attractive salary and incentives for the rural areas only

c) The rural service should be one year and compulsory and only when a doctor has served that term will they be allowed to register with the Medical Council of India.

d) Reservations for PG admission for doctors who have served in rural areas will help

e) The government should also look to open more medical colleges in rural areas and seek private partnership if necessary.

Well, we do also hope that the government, instead of forcing the rural work rule on students, makes better the existing medical facilities in rural areas so that more doctors voluntarily wish to work in those areas. These kinds of blanket decrees should certainly be done away with. Are you listening, Mr. Azad?


Last modified on Saturday, 28 April 2012 17:12