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Medical students protest against rural posting

Medical students across the country said they will launch a stir against the government's decision to make one year rural posting for doctors mandatory. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), along with Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI) and representatives of medical students across the country, demanded that rural posting be made part of the internship and post graduate training. 'Indian Medical Association supports rural posting. But, in the present situation making it compulsory is not feasible because there is no structured posting in rural areas. Every PG student must do six months of rural posting as part of their course/ internship,' said IMA secretary-general Narendra Saini.

The IMA along with AHPI also announced a nationwide movement 'Save the Doctor' to equalize under graduate (UG) and post graduate (PG) medical seats. Over two to three lakh medical students are expected to support this movement across India, a release said.

'It is a sad plight that nearly two lakh young doctors in our country at the peak of their youth spend few years in coaching classes mugging multiple choice questions rather than treating patients and learning the art of healing. These young doctors under the right circumstances can significantly improve the quality of health care offered to our citizens,' said APHI treasurer Devi Shetty.

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We talked to Dr Madhav Deo (Padmashree Awardee and member of Academic Council of the Medical Council of India), whose piece entitled 'Doctor population ratio for India The reality' in the April issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research argued that the problems faced by rural India in accessing healthcare services couldn't simply be solved by making scapegoats of young medical students but by confronting the real issues like lack of specialists, facilities and deep-rooted corruption. We talked to him to get a deeper insight into the problem and how we could solve the woeful rural healthcare scenario.

Q: In your opinion, is the compulsory rural posting a bad idea?

Dr Deo: No one says it's a bad idea, but past experience suggests that it will be badly managed. Improved management can address the current issues and there's no need for coercive techniques. Also let's not forget that all these UG students will only act as generalists without any insight into specialties. The real problem facing rural India is the lack of specialists. The government's decision to send inexperienced junior doctors to rural India is flawed to the core. Read on to find out more

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