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On Nov 13, the Centre gave its nod to the Union Health Ministry to go ahead with the scheme to create mid-level rural healthcare professionals, a Bachelor of Rural Health Course. The Union Ministry went against the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee which wasn't too enthusiastic about the plan. The medical community with IMA backing was also against the course.
Why is the Standing Committee against the course?
The standing committee felt that the current infrastructure available was inadequate to train students for the proposed rural healthcare course. They had suggested instead the government increase the intake of MBBS graduate and create a compulsory one-year rural posting for MBBS students, another move that has been criticised by both medicos, who felt MBBS doctors wouldn't be able to handle medical scenarios in rural India. The committee also felt that the course would create half-baked doctors and the government wouldn't be able to prevent these trained Bachelor of Rural Health graduates from migrating to other areas and setting up clinics.
Ever since the economy was opened by our current PM the gap between the haves and have-nots has been increasing and that includes access to healthcare services. Gandhi had imagined India as a land of self-sustaining villages and the grim reality of life in rural India would've upset him greatly. While more and more private hospitals spring up in urban India, the access to even the most basic primary healthcare services remain non-existent in rural India.
There have been various different initiatives that the government has proposed to improve rural healthcare including a compulsory period of service for MBBS and PG students but the IMA and various students' associations have been up-in-arms against these courses and protested vehemently to have them reversed. Even if they were implemented most doctors would find a way of getting out of them by greasing a few palms. The only feasible alternative is doing what the government is suggesting training rural healthcare providers so that at least the basic primary services are available to people in rural India. (What ails India's healthcare system)
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