Docs’ association opposes rural MBBS course
The Centre may be proud of its ambitious project to start a rural MBBS course to meet the shortfall of doctors in villages. But the Indian Medical Association (IMA) condemned the system, calling it unfair for patients and doctors.mumbai Updated: Feb 07, 2010 01:12 IST
The Centre may be proud of its ambitious project to start a rural MBBS course to meet the shortfall of doctors in villages. But the Indian Medical Association (IMA) condemned the system, calling it unfair for patients and doctors.
The organisation, with over 2 lakh doctors as members, has written to health ministry officials to request them to reconsider the plan.
Around 650 doctors who had gathered for the IMA Mumbai branch conference on Saturday opposed the recently-announced four-year course — Bachelor of Rural Health Care — which aims to create a cadre of doctors for villages.
“The idea is noble. But this will be discriminatory for the rural population. Urban areas will have fully qualified doctors whereas rural will have half-trained ones,” said IMA secretary Dr Hozie Kapadia.
“The government says nurses should be trained for at least 4.5 years, yet they want to train doctors in less time than that. Even in the five-year MBBS it is difficult to teach students everything,” said Dr Shivkumar Utture, professor of surgery at Grant Medical College.
The IMA members said the rural MBBS would also be bad for the doctors’ careers as they will be able to practice in rural areas only.
Dr Kapadia said it would have made more sense to upgrade the existing infrastructure in rural areas and offer better salaries — at least Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 — to attract doctors there.
“This is a knee-jerk reaction. Twenty years back also the government had proposed a three-year course but it did not take off,” said Dr Utture.
Dr Mrudula Phadke, former vice-chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik, has also expressed his reservations.