MCI, Centre join hands to create rural cadre of doctors

Five-year-old proposal finally finds favour now

MCI, Centre join hands to create rural cadre of doctors

The MBBS (rural) course will be open to only those who pass out their plus two examination from schools located in villages with an average population of less than 10,000.

The rural doctors will be forbidden to go for their post-graduation for five years during which they have to practise in places where the population is less than 50,000.
Addressing the general assembly of the World Medical Association, hosted by the Indian Medical Association here on Friday, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said this can be an alternative model for medical education, primarily for generation of the rural health manpower.  Though the idea came from the Medical Council of India almost five years ago, it has now found favour with Azad, who asked the MCI to put up a proposal.  “We will submit the proposal by November,” MCI president Ketan Desai told Deccan Herald.
The MCI proposes to take a batch of 50 village students from every district who secure a certain percentage in their plus two examination.

They will be split into five groups of 10 students each and sent to five primary health care centres under the supervision of regular government doctors. The students will work as health care workers and learn the rural problems first-hand.

In the second year, these students will be sent to district hospitals from where they will move to a tertiary care hospital in the third year. They will do the internship in the tertiary care hospital. Once they obtain MBBS (rural) degree, they have to practise only in those places where the population is less than 50,000.

Mandatory rural practice

Only after practising for five years they could come to bigger cities to pursue their post graduation, Desai said.

The MBBS (rural) curricula will be different from regular MBBS. “We have identified 300 modules on problems common to the village folk. They will be trained on those,” he said.
The rural students who want to opt for regular MBBS course will be free to do so.
India currently has 32,000 MBBS seats out of which almost 16,000 are reserved.
More than 10 lakh students compete for the remaining 16,000 seats. Most of these students are from urban background and want to stay in cities.

Azad admitted that in spite of having more than 7,30,000 doctors and 9,30,000 nursing personnel on the rolls, most of them were concentrated in cities and towns, emptying village health care centres.

The government had already initiated steps to increase the number of medical colleges as well as availability of doctors at the grassroots level, he added.
Last month, Azad changed medical education rules to give additional points to MBBS graduates in post graduate entrance examination if they serve in rural areas for three years.

While rules for setting up new medical colleges have been relaxed, Azad has allowed corporate houses to set up medical colleges in districts through the private-public-partnership mode using the government hospitals.


The highs and lows

*Course open to students who have passed their plus two exam from schools in villages with 10,000 people

*Curricula different from regular course

*Rural doctors can’t do post-graduation for first five years, must practise before opting for urban posting

*Students to work as health care workers under government doctors’ supervision

*Rural students are free to opt for regular course

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