MCI seeks registered doctors’ list from statesUpdated: Apr 18, 2020 06:24 IST
The Medical Council of India, country’s apex medical education regulator, has written to its state councils asking them to prepare a list of all doctors registered with them -- part of an exercise aimed at taking stock of the number of doctors that be mustered to treat Covid-19 patients should the number of infections increase sharply.
In a latter sent out last week, the board of governors of Medical Council of India (BoG-MCI) asked for an updated list of registered medical practitioners and their contact details.
“The Medical Council of India has been entrusted for ensuring availability of registered medical practitioners (registered under the Indian Medical Council Act 1956/State Medical Council Acts) for tackling Covid-19 pandemic. It is requested to share the updated list of registered medical practitioners available in your medical council…” said the letter, a copy of which has been reviewed by HT.
Apart from the names and registration numbers, the information asked for also requires mobile number, email, and contact address.
“This information should be sent to the MCI as early as possible, in view of the prevalent situation. This information will be further shared with the government authorities for their use, when required,” the letter added.
State councils have already started work on compiling the data.
“We are working on compiling the list. Once a medical practitioner registers (with us) the name stays at least for years years in the state register ; some of them are also PG students coming from other states who return to their respective state after their education is over. We need to weed out those names from the list, and with skeletal staff at our disposal right now it might take a little longer,” said Dr Girish Tyagi, member, Delhi Medical Council.
India has 1.1 million registered allopathic doctors as of December 2019. “Assuming 80% availability, it is estimated that around 9.26 lakh doctors may be actually available for active service,” said minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey in the Lok Sabha last year. For a population of 1.36 billion, this makes the doctor-population ratio 1:1,457, which is lower than the WHO recommended norm of 1:1,000.
For people living in rural areas that are completely dependent on government hospitals and clinics, the ratio is actually far worse, 1:10,926, according to the National Health Profile 2019 data.
Similar plans are afoot in parts of the government. The health ministry sent out a directive to the chief secretaries of states last week, on the utilization of the services of the ear nose throat (ENT) specialists or post-graduate trainees for collection of Covid-19 samples for testing.
“You are aware that the country is in the midst of an unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19. One of the key components of our strategy to combat this outbreak is contact tracing and collection of nose and throat swab samples of potentially infected persons. There is an urgent need of trained and qualified personnel to collect these samples and the number of such persons needs to be augmented significantly,” said that directive, a copy of which has been seen by HT.
“All States/UTs are, therefore, requested to organize collection of Covid-19 case samples by using the services of ENT specialists and residents. The services of these professionals working in all government and private medical colleges of the states may be drafted for this purpose,” the directive added.
A health ministry official said on condition of anonymity: “While the labs were enough, there was felt a shortage of trained people to collect samples. The experts discussed the matter and thought of making use of ENT specialists for the purpose as they already are trained in handling diseases of nose and throat. The states have passed on the instructions to all medical institutions in this regard, and the process of involving specialists has begun.”
“It is definitely a good idea as ENTs will definitely more skilled to do the job. The problem is bigger in remote areas where involving them should surely help,” said Dr NN Mathur, ENT professor and former principal, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (Safdarjung Hospital).