Friday, February 5, 2010

Doctors for the villages

The ill advised proposal by the central Govt. to start a three year degree course B.R.M.S to produce 'Doctors for the villages' is down-right stupid. It is pertinent to note that a similar experiment started by Chattisgarh Govt. in 2000 proved to be a major flop and was discontinued in 2004. I am sure not only the Medical fraternity but every right thinking individual endorses the view that producing half baked Doctors or poorly trained Medical personnel is not the solution to the problem of lack of medical facilities in rural India. There is nothing called 'Rural health' as compared to 'Urban health' as all of us are entitled to quality heath care whether we live in cities or in villages.The biggest challenge facing the healthcare infrastructure of our country is the plethora of 'Quacks' practising not only in the villages but in Metros as well. A recent survey by Indian Medical Association found out a huge numbers of such unqualified persons masqurading as Doctors in Delhi itself. If this is the state of affairs in the National capital, the condition of the rest of the country makes the imagination boggle.
So if the solution does not lie in producing more Official Quacks, what is the answer to this vexing problem? The answer lies in opening more Medical Colleges all over the country and also increaseing the capacuty of the functioning Medical Colleges. It is important to note that Medical Colleges are instumental in providing quality health-care to the people of the region in addition to producing quality health-care professionals year after year. The newer colleges may be located in rural/semi-urban areas of the country  instead of bigger cities. The number of M.B.B.S seats in India per year is around 31000 which is far from adequate compared to the population.
Another option is strenghtening the existing state health-care infrastructure with major incentives to all medical personnel who are posted in rural areas. The number of trained nurses, technicians and other support staff needs to be increased in addition to number of Doctors. Maybe giving M.B.B.S Doctors serving in villages for a specified period  credit for admission to Post Graduate courses will act as a major incentive.
Health education, improvement in environmental sanitation and better roads and communication will all go a long way in providing improved Health care facilities to the rural population.It is high time the policy makers of this country pay attention to these aspects rather than search for 'quick-fix' solutions which will do more harm than good in the long run.

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