August 08, 2007

Now, Indo-Chinese rivalry in medical world?

Is the India-China rivalry spilling over into the medical world? The question is being asked because with over 4000 Indian medical students studying in China, New Delhi will soon have to decide whether to ask China to change their registration rules for doctors to practice or amend the Medical Council of India (MCI) Act to allow them to sit for screening tests here before they are allowed to practice.

Currently, Indian medical students trained in China face an uncertain future when they return, as the MCI Act stipulates that only those who are enrolled as medical practitioners in the country of their study can go through the screening test and be included in the Indian medical register. On the other hand, Beijing does not encourage internship for foreign students in their country ~ a prerequisite for medical practice license.

The problem came out during the visit by a 15-member delegation of officials from the ministry of health and family welfare and senior administrators of government medical colleges, led by the joint secretary in the Union health ministry, Mr K Ramamoorthy, to 11 medical universities in China in June. It was reportedly the first foreign government team that had gone to inspect medical education facilities in China, after the mega medical universities started to recruit foreign students aggressively. Chinese universities had hired recruiting agents in India to actively canvas for students since 2004. Since then, the number of Indian applicants to these Chinese courses far exceeds the available seats.

The demand for these courses are due to the price, of course, which is about Rs seven to eight lakh per year, compared to about Rs 20 lakh for a seat in a private medical college in India. It also compares favourably with the cost of the course in CIS countries. But Indian students who met the delegation were worried that their degree would not allow them to practice in India.

The first batch of Indian students will complete their medical courses in China in 2009. Some of them reportedly told delegation members that they were misled by recruiting agents that the eligibility certificate they got from MCI to study in China would also enable them to qualify for the screening test. A member of the delegation said China has separate classes for Chinese and foreign students, with the former also attending courses with political component and on integrated medicine. The member told The Statesman that while the curriculum was very “rigorous” and similar to that in India, the separate classes for foreign students raised concerns.

“The first three years consists of pre-clinical study, which seemed more like an advanced form of zoology, with the fourth year consisting of clinical study,” he said. There is also no standard in the number of years required for the degree, with some universities even having six years of medical training. The last year is for ‘internship’, which is, however, not exactly like the Indian model. The Chinese ‘internship’, which they term as ‘practice’, entails posting medical students to different hospitals, where they have to learn minimum skills by being attached to various departments.

2 comments:

Chinese Study Adviser said...
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Glista said...
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