Medicos to expose Govt claims on rural healthcare | india | Hindustan Times
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Medicos to expose Govt claims on rural healthcare

MEDICAL STUDENTS of the State have agreed to withdraw their call for a strike to protest the mandatory six-month internship in rural areas and have instead decided to expose the hollowness of the government?s claims that it had spent Rs 100 crore to improve the condition of government hospitals in these areas.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 15:25 IST

MEDICAL STUDENTS of the State have agreed to withdraw their call for a strike to protest the mandatory six-month internship in rural areas and have instead decided to expose the hollowness of the government’s claims that it had spent Rs 100 crore to improve the condition of government hospitals in these areas.

According to Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors Association (JDA) general secretary Dr Anand Rai, students passing out from medical colleges did not have any casual leave and had to be present 365 days. Thus their refusal to comply with government diktats could cost them dear.

Government has failed in its responsibility to provide basic facilities in rural health centres and due to this most interns shy away from serving at such places. The interns have now decided to go to the grassroots level medical/health centres and try to give as much humanitarian help as possible, while taking up the role of secret agents even filming discrepancies and shortages there despite tall claims from the government removing these very pitfalls.

Only interns from the medical college in Gwalior have continued their protest in this mater and if their voice was not heard chances of other medical student wings joining the protest turning it into the planned strike could not be ruled out.
Principal Secretary (Health) M M Upadhyaya said that every year about 500 students pass out from medical colleges of the State, who according to Medical Council of India (MCI) norms, had to compulsorily serve a six-month internship in rural areas.

This norm was largely being ignored and the government battling a yawning shortfall of trained medical staff/ doctors had found that these interns could be used to bridge the divide between health services in urban and rural areas. Following this policy the government had issued marching orders to interns asking them to render services in rural areas located at proximity of 35 kilometres from their medical college.

The government plans to spend crores on the construction and upkeep of rural health centres. Toeing this line, 93 doctors working on contractual basis had been regularised, vacant posts filled and 11,000 posts of health assistant ‘asha’ have been filled.

However, providing doctors in rural areas against unwillingness of others to work in inhospitable climes has always been a major headache for the government and the move to put interns on the job by strictly implementing MCI norms was a move in this direction.