Moulding medical practitioners

The country’s steadily expanding human population, establishment of medical education institutions adding to their existing number across the nation, increasing the intake of students in medical colleges both for under-graduate and post-graduate courses, cost of medical education both in government-managed and private institutions, output of medicines and diagnostic devices by indigenous pharmaceutical industry, and last but not the least, the growing number of commonly known as well as newly emerging diseases and the headcount of their victims and so on are keeping pace in a disturbing mutual proportion, resulting in a yawning gap between the number of suffering sections and extent to which action is needed to alleviate the suffering. Quantitative information portraying every aforementioned component of the country’s healthcare space is being flashed regularly in the media that lay people don’t feel concerned. The quality of service by medical practitioners at large has just now come under the scanner.

While the rustics, given their weak economic state and greater vulnerability to diseases are nowhere near the urban counterparts in the matter of access to medical attention of whatever quality, the initiative of raising the presence of doctors in villages, such as taken by Government of Karnataka several times in recent years has not yielded the expected result. Un-prepardness of medical graduates to take residence in and serve the villages has reasons not far to seek.

The curriculum being followed in medical colleges for under-graduate course of five-plus years duration leading to MBBS degree, said to be unchanged for about 30 years, has come to be realised as grossly inadequate to launch the graduates into the medical profession at currently accepted norms and standards, compelling the graduates to further their education and training at post-graduate levels, not to forget the narrow specialisations in the medical profession as well as the cost associated with post-graduate medical education across the country. Common sense compels us not to wonder at the steep rise in cost of medical services at hi-tech hospitals and consultancy charges to be paid to the doctors with their specialisations. The points don’t need to be laboured upon.

In the backdrop of the foregoing scenario of the country’s healthcare sector, the news published in a section of the press last week, namely, Union Health Ministry’s expected notification on the new curriculum “Competency-based Integrated Curriculum for Under-graduate Medical Education” augurs well both for the students and later to their patients.

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