Delhi HC nod to course for non-MBBS to practise in villages

The go-ahead came after the Centre told the HC that it has approved the course and Medical Council of India(MCI) would prepare a syllabus for the course soon.

"It is better to be treated by a doctor than a quack", said a division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan and gave the nod to the Ministry of Health to go ahead with introduction of new course-Bacholar of Rural Health Care for three years.

The Centre's counsel submitted before the bench that to practice in primary health care centres, a person has to qualify the new course and six months internship thereafter. After obtaining an experience of five years, if the person does a bridge course for two years, he will be equivalent to a MBBS doctor.

The counsel further submitted that after approval, the government has asked MCI to prepare the syllabus.

Meanwhile, MCI informed the Bench that it will prepare the syllabus within two months, after which the court asked the government to issue a notification six weeks thereafter so as to implement the course from next academic year.

The Bench was hearing a PIL, filed by one Meenakshi Gautam, through counsel Prashant Bhushan, seeking to decriminalise the practise of medicine by non-MBBS persons.

The petitioner sought a direction to the government to introduce a short-term course for training healthcare workers so that shortage of doctors in rural areas could be removed.
The Indian Medical Council Act, which provides for one-year imprisonment for practising medicine by non-MBBS persons, should be amended, said the petitioner.

According to the Act, only a MBBS qualified person can practice medicine and prescribe a scheduled drug. The Act has obstructed the development of mid-level health practitioners who can deliver family healthcare, the petitioner added.

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