Doctors unhappy with rural healthcare course

Course to be introduced in district medical schools from this year


Sonal Matharu | January 17, 2011

Following a green signal given to the bachelor of rural healthcare (BRHC) course by the health ministry in a meeting with the state health ministries in Hyderabad recently, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) expressed its displeasure over the same here on Monday.

Doctors heading IMA strongly opposed the government starting a three-and-a-half year rural healthcare course to fulfill the need of doctors in the lower two tiers of the health system in India, saying that the health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has taken the decision in haste and has failed to foresee the divide the new cadre of doctors will create in the country.

“The government just wants to utilise the funds lying idle under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). For the past 10 years they have been making noise about constructing AIIMS-like hospitals across the country, not one hospital has started functioning yet. How will they have the required infrastructure of 50 medical schools in the districts, by the end of July 2011 for the new course? How will they run these schools without teachers, without infrastructure and without any equipment?” said Dr Vinay Aggarwal, IMA’s president.

IMA honorary secretary Dr D R Rai added that poor governance in the states is the reason why the government is not able to retain doctors in the primary and the community health centres.

“Instead of spending so much money on introducing a new course, use it on improving the infrastructure in the district hospitals, doctors will be willing to go there,” said Dr Rai. He added that no one but the government is to be blamed for inequitable distribution of healthcare providers in India as they are the ones who grant permission for opening up of medical colleges and hospitals.

To mark their disapproval of the course, the IMA will hold protests across 200 places in the country on January 20. An all India students’ convention will be launched on February 20 and by the end of February, the matter will be discussed with the panchayat representatives.



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