The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that not recognizing the need for trained medical human resources in rural areas and unwillingness to consider new ideas for addressing it will not help the situation.
Speaking at the two day workshop to discuss ?Alternative Models of Undergraduate Medical Education’, The Minister said that in the proposed Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS)course a community based solution to the public health in rural areas is being discussed for the first time.
Shri Azad allayed the fears that the Course will compromise the quality of rural health care. ‘We are not replacing MBBS or specialist doctors’ Shri Azad said.
The proposal envisages training persons from rural areas on the basis of merit to equip him or her to “primarily, I underline, primarily to work in 145000 sub-centres, or at the most in Primary Health Centre, let it be very clear that it will be in addition to MBBS doctors (at PHC)” , Shri Azad added.
Sub Centre, the most basic unit of public health system after ASHA is currently manned by Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM).
Emphasizing the importance of quality in medical education and value of trained medical doctors, Shri Azad said that due to widespread vacancies in Community Health Centres and Primary Health centres coupled with burden of emerging diseases, rural population is being forced to go to cities and even to tertiary care hospitals like AIIMS for conditions which can be stabilized at local level. This results in huge expenditure and consequent impoverishment of rural masses. Due to physical, social and cultural distance from medical facilities people tend to depend on unqualified quack who often provide irrational treatment. The Minister said that past neglect cannot be reason for not thinking of innovative solutions today. “It is not our case to shirk away from our responsibility of having trained doctors but idealism needs to be tempered with reality…. the existing situation prevailing in rural areas is compelling us to look beyond current solutions” Shri Azad added.
The Minister was emphatic that safeguards should be in place to prevent the misuse of the proposed scheme. He asked Medical Council of India to closely monitor and have the annual licensing procedure established. Shri Azad was clear that “the training of knowledge and skills proposed to be imparted to this cadre of rural health providers should be designed and based on the health needs of the rural community and not make it a back-door entry for persons to get into the medical profession.” Need for strict vigilance and public information was stressed by the Minister to prevent the misuse.
The Secretary Health, Ms K. Sujatha Rao also underlined the need for having a cadre of trained medical human resource to take care of the requirements of the rural people. She said that time has come for a paradigm shift to align curriculum, numbers and needs in the medical education and the proposed course is a step in that direction.
The Two day conference will discuss various aspects of the proposed course and is being attended by, Vice Chancellors of various universities, Health officials and medical educators.
Source: Press Information Bureau, India