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Medical students give practical classes a miss

delhi Updated: Sep 03, 2011 01:32 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Most students of Delhi's medical colleges do not take evening practical lessons that are mandatory for them, raising questions about the standard of doctors that the city is producing.

MBBS undergraduate students are provided hands-on training on actual patients in these sessions, which they have to attend with senior residents.

Senior residents are young doctors who have recently completed master's degrees.

According to the rulebook of the Medical Council of India, taking practical lessons is a compulsory requirement for all MBBS students from third year onwards.

"We have been asking senior residents to ensure that the juniors attend these evening lessons, but to no avail. Without practical training, one can imagine how the next generation of doctors will be," said a senior faculty from the department of surgery at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) on condition of anonymity.

The five-and-a-half year duration of an MBBS course is divided into 4.5 years of study and a year of internship.

The study period has three broad divisions called professionals. In the first professional, students learn anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.

In the second leg, students study pharmacology, microbiology and pathology. In the last leg, they study various disciplines like eye, ENT, preventive and social medicine, forensic medicine, etc.

Senior residents conduct the evening practical classes for disciplines like general medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics and radiology.

MAMC is not the only college struggling to make undergraduates take these evening lessons. The situation at Lady Hardinge Medical College, near Shivaji Stadium, is no different.

"Senior residents are rarely assisted by their juniors and they don't expect it either. These resident doctors have also probably not attended these evening classes while pursuing MBBS," said a doctor from the college's department of gynaecology on condition of anonymity.

While most medical colleges in Delhi face this problem, things are different at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Debjyoti Karmakar, president of the Resident Doctors Association, AIIMS, said students at the country's premier medical institute regularly take these practical lessons.

"But on the flip side, the morning lecture classes taken by the faculty have very sparse attendance, ranging between 5-10%," Karmakar said.

"Last year, the dean Dr Rani Kumar took several measures like monthly assessment, computerised attendance to rein in the problem but to no avail," he said.