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Medical education in India looking for achhe din

The future of India’s health status and healthcare appears to be beyond bleak if one were to just glance at the health human resource crunch and a seemingly ostensible indifference in addressing this crisis.

India has just about seven doctors per 10,000 persons, as against a Russia which has 43.1 doctors per 10,000; USA has 24.5 and Brazil 18.9 per 10,000.

At a very simplistic level, this indicates that India currently has a deficit of approximately 300,000 doctors, and when compared to the annual supply of only 44,300 MBBS graduates, it is a confounding comparison.

So, how does India plan to address this situation? What is it doing to ramp up the number of doctors? At present, it seems, not much. Till now, it appears to be long winded saga of recommendations, amendments, standing committees and now an unfortunate disapproval of plans is a succinct status of a beleaguered process that began even before Independence!

The Medical Council of India (MCI) was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, as an elected body for maintaining the medical register and providing ethical oversight, with no specific role in medical education.

Over the decades, its performance has been short of optimal. In the face of rampant corruption observed especially over the last few years, the role of MCI was taken up by the Parliament.

In March 2016, the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the need to reform The Medical Council of India came as a glimmer of hope.

The committee observed that the Medical Council of India, when tested on the core reason of its existence, has been a under performer.

It said that the quality of medical education is at its lowest ebb; medical graduates lack competence in performing basic health care tasks like conducting normal deliveries; instances of unethical practice continue to grow due to which respect for the profession has dwindled, and yet, the MCI has not been able to introduce any serious reforms in medical education to address these gaps.

It went on to add that it is of the view that there is too much power concentrated in a single body (i.e. the MCI), and it has failed to create a transparent system of licensing of medical colleges.

The committee, therefore, favoured a bifurcation of the functions of MCI and recommended that different structures be created for discharging different functions.

According to a KPMG report on the health manpower crunch, the situation is such that India needs to commission 550 medical colleges – 100 seats per college right away to meet the global average by 2030. A step such as this alone can help India cope with its burgeoning population, mounting disease burden and escalating economic burden on account of ill health of its populace.

Subsequent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s report, in March 2016, the Supreme Court constituted a three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha to oversee the Medical Council of India.

The MCI protested against the establishment of the Lodha Committee and said that lobbies with ulterior motives and interests had done everything possible in their attempts to malign its reputation.

Alongside, a deep seated malaise of MCI raised its ugly head once again, one of unabated disapprovals of applications for medical colleges, addition of seats, renewals of permissions and recognitions.

In an unprecedented recent development, the MCI disapproved almost 94 percent applications that came in from the private sector to establish new medical college, i.e. 74 applications were disapproved as against the 79 applications that MCI had received in 2016-17. This translates into a loss of almost 8000 doctors for India.

Furthermore, almost 87 percent of the requests for new seats were disapproved. Strangely, even the applications that came in from the government were not spared, their applications for new colleges and new seats too were disapproved in a large percentage. The reasons for these disapprovals are unknown and possibly are trivial.

Thankfully, Justice Lodha gave amnesty to over 175 private medical colleges who were denied approval this year and also chance to re-submit their representations to the health.

This was an encouraging move, but it has been over 100 days since the Lodha Committee was commissioned and we are yet to hear of plans for the future of medical education in India.

A proposal to replace the MCI with a National Commission for Human Resources in Healthcare (NCHRH) has been on the horizon since 2009, but a bill on these lines was rejected by the parliamentary standing committee in 2012. Will the nation revisit the decision?

India now only looks towards the Lodha Committee to bring forth ‘achhe din’ for medical education and a healthier India.

Source: ANI
10 comment(s) on Medical education in India looking for achhe din

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  1. user
    Shame on you Ketan Desai cronies. December 31, 2016, 3:47 pm

    Shame on Ketan Desai cronies here trying to defame respected Justice Lodha.We the Medical fraternity of India would never ever accept a corrupt MCI with Ketan Desai of his cronies. We want MCI liquidated as soon as possible. And until it\’s existence Justice Lodha should continue heading the community, no matter what Ketan Desai cronies say. Shame shame Ketan Desai and your cronies here writing comments to delegitimise a honest senior ex CJI like honourable Justice Lodha.

  2. why the medical college charge a very high fees and capitation for MD/MS degree which is not approved in US and Europe, To get more PG doctors are the criteria of the nation and the authorities should look into it as they give scholarship and subsidy for IMS and IITs ect and the studens pass out and serve in other countries. How ever doctor are staying in india to serve –

  3. user
    Balbhadra Dhagat November 9, 2016, 6:32 pm

    Actions of the august members of the SC Panel (comprising of ex-CJI Lodha, ex-CAG Vinod Rai & ex-MCI-BOG Chairman Dr SK Sarin) is not reflective of vision. While the SC Panel might actually believe that they have done their best for the medical education, it is certainly far from the truth. It is a misguided attempt reflective of crass one-upmanship intended to reduce the importance of MCI & to ensure it remains under extraneous control. Does the SC Panel have comprehension of what is required to ensure a first rate medical education? This way, they can only destroy the very foundations of already tottering medical education.

  4. user
    Balbhadra Dhagat November 9, 2016, 6:30 pm

    When Prof Karabi Baral, Prof Nina Das & Prof MK Ramesh reached Ananata Medical College, Udaipur on 24 February 2016, Dr Jitendra Jain, Dean refused inspection of the Medical College on the ground that he was unwell. With the courtesy of ex-CJI RM Lodha, ex-CAG Vinod Rai & Padma Bhushan Dr SK Sarin,  the Medical College can now admit first batch of students to the MBBS Programme. There can be nothing more ironical than this in Indian medical education scenario.

  5. user
    Balbhadra Dhagat November 9, 2016, 6:28 pm

    Raipur Institute of Medical sciences, Raipur which has also been permitted to admit first MBBS batch by SC Panel, was inspected for compliance of deficiencies on 5 February 2016 by Prof  Baral Karabi Baral (Bankura Medical College), Prof Saibal Kumar Mukherjee ( College of Medicine & Sagora Datta Hospital, Kolkata) & Prof Sachitanand Mohanty (Baharampur Medical College). Deficiencies of Teaching Faculties & Residents were 73.84% & 67.39% respectively. Only 17% of the 300 beds were occupied. Only one patient existed in MICU/SICU/NICU/PICU. On inspection day, there was not even one major surgery or delivery. No specialty clinic was functional. OPD was closed till 9.45 AM. Only 4 OPD patients reported for treatment till 2 PM. What kind of doctors will the College produce?