Friday, June 21, 2013


No PG degree for Indian doctors unless they serve a 12-month rural stint


Delhi: Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has finally signed a controversial regulation according to which 12 months of rural stint will now be mandatory for doctors who want to pursue a post graduate (PG) degree.

“The proposal was signed by the minister on Tuesday and will be notified in a day or two,” a senior health ministry official .

According to the reports, rural areas in the country are facing  huge shortage of doctors. The doctor-population ratio in rural areas is 3/10,000, while it is 13/10,000 in urban areas. Besides, just 26% doctors work in rural areas, serving 72% of the population.

To address this dismal situation, doctors were thus far given incentives to work in rural areas; those who worked for one year got 10 marks while those who worked for three years got 30 marks for admissions in PG. 

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) graduates, who want to pursue post-graduate studies in the country, will now have to serve in rural areas for a year. The Medical Council of India will register these students as doctors, following which they will have to work in rural areas. The doctors will be paid as full-time MBBS doctors, and not as trainee doctors.

The move means that MBBS doctors will now be available for government health services, and are likely to be utilised for the National Rural Health Mission.

Earlier, an MBBS course of 5.5 years included one year of internship. However, most of these medical students ended up practising in urban settings, refusing to serve the country's rural population.

The rural health statistics 2011 say there was a 76% shortage of doctors in rural India, there were 53% fewer nurses, specialist doctors short by 88%, radiographers short by 85% and laboratory technicians short by 80%.

India churns out over 45,000 medical graduates annually, but most of them are reluctant to serve in villages and would rather join the private sector for better salaries and an urban posting.

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