India Healthcare
Azad overrules IMA's objections to rural MBBS course
Mar 18, 2010 - 5:11:07 PM

New Delhi, March 18 - The Indian Medical Association - has three problems with the government's plan to create a special cadre of rural doctors through a truncated MBBS course, but the health ministry has refused to yield to its pressure and will push ahead on the subject as planned.

According to a top health ministry official, a seven-member delegation of the IMA met Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and apprised him of their reservations over plans for the rural doctors' course. The IMA is the top doctors' association in the country.

'The IMA has three problems with the plan,' a senior health ministry official told IANS.

'They want to call the new medical institutions for rural doctors as 'schools' and not colleges, as planned by the ministry. They are also opposed to naming these four-year courses as degrees. The IMA wants these to be called diplomas and not degrees, as a normal MBBS course is of five-year duration,' the official said.

'The doctors' association also wants a separate registration for these rural doctors,' the official added.

However, the health minister has rejected their demands.

'The minister listened to their problems patiently but told them that there is no conflict of interest with the regular doctors. The changes as demanded by the IMA will not be incorporated,' the official added.

Bachelor of Rural Health Care -, popularly called Rural MBBS, is a four-year course for rural students who will work in health sub-centres and primary health care centres.

Azad has often raised the issue of shortage of doctors in India. 'A whopping 80 percent of the doctors are serving just 20 percent of the population. The doctor-patient ratio is not encouraging,' Azad said in a function Wednesday and reiterated that there is a need for more doctors in villages.

According to the medical education regulator, the Medical Council of India, rural doctors are the need of the hour. 'They cannot do surgeries but can treat 300 different types of ailments that rural Indians face regularly,' MCI president Ketan Desai told IANS.

'I am in favour of rural doctors. Those sitting in cities like Delhi and Mumbai cannot understand the trauma of villagers and how they suffer without any medical attention,' Desai added.

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