Thursday, August 29, 2013

'We'll soon have hospitals without doctors'

'We'll soon have hospitals without doctors'

How is the skewed ratio between undergraduate and postgraduate medical seats affecting access to healthcare?

India has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Of the 28 million babies born every year, 5-6 million are delivered by Caesarean section. The women need gynaecologists to enable smooth delivery. Today, many women die during childbirth because there aren't enough doctors around to treat them. We need 1.5 lakh gynaecologists but have just 40,000. The US has 5,000 postgraduate seats while India has just 450. There's a shortage of radiologists, who are so crucial for diagnosing any ailment even in cities.

Why this restriction?

We in India believe that if we increase the number of seats, the value or quality will go down. But that's not true. Therefore, we've restricted the number of postgraduate seats and deprived lakhs of MBBS doctors from becoming specialists, which is dangerous for the healthcare system in India. If we don't rectify the ratio now, there will be hospitals without doctors in our Tier 2 cities too.

What's the solution?

The government must tell the Medical Council of India to increase the number of PG seats significantly. When there are thousands of medical graduates who want to pursue specialization and spend years preparing for that coveted PG seat, why are we depriving them and losing them to other countries?

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