December 12, 2009

An open appeal to prevent lowering of standard of Medical Education in India

An Open appeal to the Prime Minister, Health Ministry, the Medical Council of India and the National Board of Medical Examinations (DNB Board)

We want to prevent degradation of medical education standards! There is no point in lowering the standards of medical or health education to achieve the concept of appropriate rural health provisioning for India. Measures are required in right earnest by the MCI, DNB board, Health ministry, to allow for modernisation of medical education in a competitive unrestricted environment, as per world standards. We hereby call for help for disadvantaged medical professionals and to create a better environment and working conditions for all postgraduate medical doctors in India- this will prevent physician migration abroad and encourage rural health provisioning for the billion plus emergent India.

The medical council of India and the government of India are currently of the concurrent opinion that 4 and half year MBBS is the appropriate step forward to ease the shortage of medical staff in rural health facilities of India. True to similar concerns the supreme court in full earnest has reacted that a 3 year MBBS is sufficient for a rural populace so that it gets more doctors instead of getting rural health serviced by quack.

The president of India has exhorted at least two times this year that the MBBS fresh graduates and aspiring postgraduates serve at least one year in rural health provisioning. Meanwhile a new bill may be brought up in parliament in this winter session to effect the NCHRH bill provisions.
In the light of these facts, we from AIMDDA (All India MD/MS/DNB Doctors Association) wants to humbly draw attention of the nation to the plight of diploma and DNB candidates and seek government attention to these sons and daughters of the lesser god .

Case of the medical diplomates: Many medical diploma doctors have served this country as specialist’s doctors and tutors in medical colleges, and have worked for paltriest salaries, even lesser than an MSc educated non doctor, even within medical institutions and have suffered as second grade citizens in such institutions since independence.

We request the powers controlling medical education to take a liberal view of the problems face by these brethren and allow diploma doctors to be treated as par with MD doctors subject to certain conditions, well agreed by respective medical speciality associations. We can think of a national level written exam to elevate these medical diploma doctors to MD/MS degrees –or 3 year service as medical diploma can be deemed sufficient to treat them as equal to an MD/MS or similar suggestion. This problem if solved soon, will deliver many medical postgraduates to serve our rural population directly or indirectly.

Allow private practice during non office hours: also, currently all forms of private practice is restricted in government owned medical colleges. This results in many doctors not being able to serve of rural health and impoverished persons, in spite of their ability to treat competently. The doctors will have to be allowed to practice freely subject to precondition that they will not practice during their government duty hours. Also many MD/MS from preclinical and para clinical sciences are not practicing and these doctors can be incentevised by the government to help care the rural and urban poor better than ever.

Also the salary paid by the government is for the 8-10 hour stipulated work period only and cannot stipulate that a doctor cannot render consultancy services for profit beyond his designated office ours as similar consultancy is allowed in other professions, in India and abroad. If such moonlighting is legal for other professionals it cannot be illegal for our government Doctors to practice, beyond office hours.

Plight of the DNB brethren: We wish to draw attention to the fact that many doctors are trying to do post-graduation in hospitals attached to the DNB board, and many of these are well recognized by our medical education patron the medical council of India. But many of our toiling DNB brethren are unhappy that they are not getting the similar pass percentage as the MD/MS brethren in medical colleges permitted by MCI.

We request the powers within the health ministry to note that this high failure rate does not yield more postgraduates to serve the health impoverished nation. Hence it is in national interest to release more DNB postgraduates imprisoned in such failures. We, from the All India MD/ MS/ DNB Doctors Association fervently appeal to increase the pass percentage of such doctors, who will also alleviate rural health problems of India, soon. This will also fulfil the wishes of the nation, our president and other thinkers on health of our nation.

Recognise & value our rural services: No others professionals get compelled to work in rural areas-Also we understand that the nation or the courts do not make similar observation regarding rural service by a lawyer, judge, chartered accountant, an engineer, a dentist, a physiotherapist or any other professional. We can understand the importance attached to doctors, and the compelling reason thereof as a result of that extreme respect.

Loans @ 2 percent interest for rural medical practitioners to establish hospitals: Rural doctors should get loans to build their hospitals at lowest interest rates so that their patients (consumers) get the ultimate benefit of reduced service costs. We request the government should provide us broadband internet facilities to connect to the best hospitals in the world while we envision our rural hospitals for public benefit. Such doctors can be given land by the government at concessional rates. In short, we should be given a better deal if doctors have to shift to the countryside.

Foreign educated doctors: our doctors graduated abroad face similar discrimination by the health ministry which has to be more prudent and liberal in allowing the entry of medical graduates and postgraduates educated abroad, we appeal to the medical leadership to end this disturbance to our medical brethren, by ensuring parity, without harassing these professionals-as they will be hundred times better than 3 year or 4 year MBBS cadre to be created or a quack.

Act on illegal doctors/cross practicing doctors of Indian systems of medicine: Stop quackery: The government can publicise that quacks will be legally penalized if they continue their quackery after being noted by the local health authorities. The policing of quackery should be taken up seriously and the legal system should be empowered to take action against these forms of illegal medical practice.

We, the doctors of the All India MD/MS/DNB Doctors Association with like minded associations like the Indian Medical Association and other professional associations want health of our rural fellow Indians to be as healthy as per world standards and are ready to serve their health purposes. We request community support against quackery, dilution of medical education standards, and dilution of health education standards in general. We request the courts of this country and vigilant non-governmental organizations supporting health for all and against health inequities to support our cause.

For a healthy nation
All India MD/MS/DNB Doctors Association.

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