New Delhi, Oct 5: While widespread protests have stalled a proposal to start a three-year rural medical course, the union health ministry maintains it would be the most
effective solution to tackle the lack of trained medical professionals in villages.
“We lack trained medical professionals in rural areas and this will help in meeting the demand-supply gap,” Health Secretary Sujatha Rao told media.
“Doctors don’t want to go to rural areas, so if we train people from local areas and give them a diploma, we will be able to meet the gap in providing healthcare,” Rao said.
The Bachelor in Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS) course proposed by the health ministry will be a three-year short-duration course that will give students a diploma,
enabling them to practice in rural areas only.
The health secretary said that since the course will take mostly local students, they will serve in their villages, thereby solving the problem of shortage of trained
“The lack of doctors strengthens the nexus of quacks. Earlier, they were only into treating people, now a nexus is developing between the doctors of nearby towns and
village quacks,” Rao said.
“These quacks play brokers in taking village patients to the doctors, take commission and the poor villagers are charged more. We need to change such a situation,” she
Lack of trained medical professionals has been repeatedly highlighted as one of the biggest challenges for India by leaders at all levels, including Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The health ministry is also contemplating making it mandatory for graduates who have received subsidised education to serve in rural areas for some time.
The secretary, however, added that the new course would serve the immediate needs of villages.
“This is what China did to meet the need for rural doctors. We too need to address the gap in service,” the secretary added.
She added that consultations are on with all stakeholders and various state governments to take the proposal forward. The secretary, however, did not give a time line for
starting the course. (IANS)
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