The Medical Council of India (MCI) amended the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, to reserve half of the country’s postgraduate diploma courses seats for those who have served three years in remote areas.

Relaxations such as giving 10 per cent marks to the medical students serving in villages have not proved to be effective.

“Despite several benefits, doctors don’t want to go to the rural areas because of various reasons. They don’t get good facilities for their families such as education and ease of living as they get in urban cities,” said a senior health ministry official.

“We are trying our level best to move doctors to rural areas because these areas too require good healthcare services.”

The Union Health Ministry’s 2014 data show that 70 per cent of out patient care and more than 60 per cent of inpatient care remain in the private sector.

“Private practitioners are now, therefore, the first point of contact in both rural and urban areas for many ailments, including fever and acute illnesses, care of small children, and treatment of diseases such as tuberculosis,” said the parliamentary report.

“However, a substantial proportion of, and in some areas even the majority of private providers might be unqualified or under-qualified.”

In 2012, the Medical Council of India (MCI) decided to make one-year rural internship mandatory for admission into postgraduate medical courses.

However, doctors staged a protest in the Capital, stating that the infrastructure in primary health centres in rural areas is not adequate for them to work properly.

Health organisations in India have suggested ways to the government to draw specialist doctors to the rural areas.

“There is no dearth of general practitioners,  who want to work in rural areas. Many students while studying voluntarily opt to in villages. But, we have observed that there is an acute shortage of specialists,” said KK Aggarwal, secretary general, Indian Medical Association.

“We have also suggested that specialists can be outsourced from urban areas for which they get good money for a certain period. This way, it will become easy for the rural health centres to get specialist doctors who otherwise would not want to go there.”

Across the world, countries are trying to improve healthcare services in villages.

In Canada, many provinces have started to decentralise primary care.

The Local Health Integration Network was established in Ontario in 2007, addressed the needs of people in rural areas.

In China, a $50-million pilot project was approved in 2008 to improve public health in rural areas. The country is also planning to introduce a national healthcare system.

(With inputs from Soudhriti Bhabani in Kolkata and Naseer Ganai in Srinagar)

Courtesy: Mail Online India


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