18 September 2009
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
Working in rural India could stand you a better chance of getting a postgraduate (PG) medical seat.
In a new incentive that will soon be notified by the Union health ministry, MBBS doctors who undergo rural service will sit for the PG exam with an added advantage – they will have 10–30 marks guaranteed.
According to health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, those MBBS students who have done one year of rural service will get 10 marks as an additional weightage while those who would have done three years in the country’s most backward areas would get 30 marks.
This rural service will have to be rendered after completion of the MBBS student’s internship period.
Azad, who said this incentive should boost rural posting, added that 50% seats in PG diploma courses are being reserved for medical officers in government service who have served for at least three years in remote and difficult areas.
“Doctors who are still shying away from practising in difficult or backward areas will have to be given extra incentives. MBBS doctors with rural work experience will sit for the PG exam with 10–30 marks guaranteed. It will apply to all state exams also,” said Azad.
He said, “Not only will the National Rural Health Mission gain the services of MBBS doctors but with this incentive students will be encouraged to utilize their skills, immediately after passing out, in the service of people in backward areas.”
In order to increase the country’s skilled medical manpower, the government has come out with another vital notification. As against the average global norm of teacher–student ratio being 1:3 in post–graduate levels, the ministry has now made such a ratio in India to be two students per teacher. At present the teacher–student ratio in India is 1:1.
This new notification will increase the number of PG students passing out every year by 5,000 (13,000 to 18,000). In the super–specialty level, the teacher–student ratio in both the level of a professor and a associate professor is being enhanced to 1:2.
India is short of 6 lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and 2 lakh dental surgeons because of which it has a dismal patient–doctor ratio. There is just one doctor for every 10,000 Indians.
Meanwhile, the health ministry had asked states to identify “Difficult, most difficult and inaccessible areas, particularly in hilly states, northeastern states and tribal areas” where primary health centres (PHCs) require to be set up. “So far, 22 states have reported their list of difficult areas,” Azad said.
In order to improve medical education, the ministry with help from the Medical Council of India has now come up with fresh norms to facilitate the setting up of medical colleges to increase the supply of needed manpower. It has relaxed land requirement from the current 25 acres to 20 acres throughout the country.
Another targeted initiative will see permission being given to start PG courses in three pre–clinical disciplines of anatomy, physiology and bio–chemistry and four para–clinical disciplines of micro–biology, forensic medicine, pharmacology and community medicine in the fourth year of MBBS instead of the existing practice of granting permission after the college is recognized, which usually takes six years.