Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Three-year 'hands-on' syllabus for rural medicos ready

The syllabus for the three-year course for rural medical practitioners is ready. It promises to do away with what's unnecessary in the four-and-a-half-year MBBS course and prepare hands-on doctors at the primary level. The course, called the Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC), is expected to change the landscape of medical education and delivery of health care and hopefully, solve the shortage of doctors in rural areas, home to 70% of India's population. The Medical Council of India (MCI), which has prepared the syllabus, has differentiated between BRHC and MBBS doctors by not allowing the former to use the prefix Dr. to their name. Instead, they will have BRHC suffixed to their name.

This, according to Dr. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, Member, Board of Governors of MCI, will assuage the fears of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which has been up in arms, fearing this move will trample on the toes of MBBS doctors. This new category will be drawn from 10+2 students from rural areas/districts and 25 will be chosen district-wise after an exam. They will be trained at community colleges by practicing or retired doctors from nearby district hospitals. "Their practice will be confined to that area and registration will be for one year only", he said.

The course will include 10 things: Community medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, ENT, radio-diagnosis and dentistry. "It will be divided into three phases", said Roy Chaudhury. In the first, students will study the health problems of the community, basic principles of diagnosis and prevention of common rural aliments such as malaria, anemia, hookworm, kala-azar, TB and diarrhoea. Phase II will involve taking patient history, basic clinical examination and management of diseases. They will be tied up with national health programmes. Phase III will deal with training to prevent basic health problems.

"The curriculum will do away with many unnecessary aspects in the MBBS course such as in pharmacy and anatomy", said Roy Chaudhury. "Often, an MBBS student has no real skills; he can't do a tracheotomy, dialysis, etc. We don't want to repeat that mistake here. We want hands-on doctors", he said.

Source: The Times of India, September 1, 2010

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