Medical Council of India (MCI) planning a shorter medical degree for rural students

January 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm Leave a comment

Following is a report The Times of India: Thanks to Kalahandia blog for the pointer.

A medical degree in 3-1/2 years? This could soon be a reality with the health ministry and Medical Council of India (MCI) planning a shorter medical degree for rural students who would exclusively serve the rural populace. 

The hinterland, where few doctors want to serve, could soon have a dedicated corps of medical practitioners drawn from among students raised in rural areas.

After incentives failed to lure doctors to practise in remote areas, the health ministry is finalising the novel scheme along with MCI to start 3-1/2 year degree courses in medicine and surgery in institutes set up in rural areas.

Under the scheme, the undergraduate `Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery’ (BRMS) degree would be acquired in two phases and at two different levels — Community Health Facility (one-and-a-half year duration) and sub-divisional hospitals (secondary level hospitals) for a further duration of two years.

The BRMS degree would be offered by institutes in rural areas with an annual sanctioned strength of 50 students. “Selection of students would be based on merit in the 10+2 examination with physics, chemistry and biology as subjects. A student who has had his entire schooling in a rural area with a population not more than 10,000 would be eligible for selection, which would be done by professional bodies set up by the Directorate of Medical Education of the state governments,” the scheme noted.

MCI president Dr Ketan Desai told TOI that the idea was to get students from rural areas who were willing to work in rural areas as doctors from outside didn’t want to live and work in villages. Many do not even turn up for their assignment.

Many rounds of discussion on the scheme have taken place between the ministry officials and MCI representatives, the last one being on November 17 under the chairmanship of health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. “At this meeting, many of the operational details were discussed and rough edges ironed out,” Dr Desai said.

The ministry is backing the scheme as it is finding it increasingly difficult to get adequate number of doctors to serve in rural areas to fulfil the UPA government’s commitments under National Rural Health Mission-2009.

To keep BRMS graduates in the loop, MCI is also proposing a parallel mechanism to register them by state medical councils and MCI. “Registration would be granted provisionally on an annual renewal basis and would only entitle the holders of such innovative medical qualification of 3-1/2 years to practise in a rural set-up in the same district,” it said.
Dr Desai was confident that the scheme would take final shape by March after incorporating the suggestions received during a workshop scheduled for February 4-5, 2010, where deans of all 300 medical colleges, vice-chancellors of all medical universities and directors of education of all 29 states would participate.

All this would be conveyed to a Delhi High Court Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar on January 6 by MCI counsel Pratibha Singh. The HC is hearing a PIL filed by Dr Meenakshi Gautam complaining that the ministry and MCI were not paying enough attention to improving the rural healthcare system.


Entry filed under: Advanced policies of health care sector, Health Care Facility.

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