August 31, 2008

Doctors file PIL in HC against diabetes course

The state government's proposal to launch a six-month certificate course on diabetology in the distance education mode has run into rough weather, with a public interest writ petition filed in the Madras high court questioning its legal validity.

Though the court has not stayed the course, it said that admission to the course will be subject to the outcome of the petition, jointly filed by four practising doctors. The first bench, comprising chief justice A K Ganguly and justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, which heard the matter, has also ordered notices to the government.

The doctors, describing the proposed course as a "mockery of medical education ," wondered how the government could contemplate a medical course through distance education mode, that too with only two contact classes every month and without any attendance criteria for theory classes.

The government had planned to admit 750 candidates with MBBS qualification for the course.

Pointing out that neither the Central government nor the Medical Council of India had been approached by the state government for approval of the course, the doctors said the state government did not have jurisdiction or competence to offer such certificates. "No new courses, programme or training can be started or conducted except with prior permission of the Centre, in consultation with the MCI," the petitioners contended. The system of distance education is unknown to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, they added. Also, government medical colleges identified to offer the courses had no infrastructure or faculty to handle the additional load of students , the petitioners said.

The move will lead to dilution of standards and will affect patients in need, they added. When contacted, health department authorities told The Times of India that at the end of the programme, the candidates will have to clear an examination for being certified as diabetologists . "Unfortunately, the medical syllabus has very little on the epidemic in the undergraduate programme. A revision in medical course is a protocol-driven activity and it takes time. In the mean time, to meet the growing demand for diabetologists and to detect the disease early we thought we need to start creating awareness among the medical community . This course is the first step. And it needs no recognition from the MCI. Private universities in the state already offer the course," said health secretary V K Subburaj. The department decided to tighten things after the Chennai Urban Rural Epidemilogical Study by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation estimated that at least 15.5% of the city's population was diabetic. The government's screening camps revealed that over two lakh people in the rural areas had high sugar levels, authorities said.

2 comments:

Bipin Kumar said...

Isn't it the paradox of how doctors pull (please read cut) the legs of other fellow professionals. Any study in medical science should help the community. India has more number of patients than the entire population of many a countries in the world. And, the better trained the professionals are, the better should be the services offered to their patients. How come the same organization does not question the distance learning course of the Cardiff university on Diabetes? How come the organization question the Masters of Public Health courses run by many a US universities!?

We Indians are big time hypocrites. And it is high time we realize this. Let the developments happen and people prosper to help others live a better lives.

JK said...

When we cannot do anything with regard to the umpteen number of quacks who inhabit our country and treat almost all medical conditions including doing surgeries, what is the problem in allowing graduates in medicine do a distance education certificate course in diabetes. I hope the litigant do not expect all diabetics to go to a DM/DipNB Endocrinologist for treatment.

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