The entire nation has been suffering from the perilous coronavirus pandemic for 7 months. In this pandemic situation, the work of doctors is truly commendable. Still, there is a greater shortage of doctors, particularly in rural areas. To overcome this problem, the Central Government and the Medical Council of India [MCI] have approved initiating PG Diploma courses that can be pursued post finishing MBBS.
The deadly coronavirus pandemic has spread across different parts of the country. It is possible to offer adequate treatment for COVID-19 patients in urban areas. But, there is an acute shortage of specialists especially in rural healthcare hospitals in India. With an intention to fulfill this necessity, MCI and the Indian Government jointly introduced this ‘radical reform’ in the field of higher medical education.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a gazette notification initiating Post-Graduate Diploma courses in about 8 medical specialties that fall under the National Board of Examinations on 6th August. A webinar was conducted on Thursday i.e., on 20th August by the Ministry. Several medical experts across different parts of the country took part in the webinar. All of them welcomed the initiative and the popular cardiac surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty termed this move as a ‘radical reform’.
As per the regulations, these well-organized training programmes can be operated by any of the well-equipped public or private hospitals that have more than 100 beds and senior specialist doctors in the country. As per the newly introduced courses, the two-year Diploma courses are in various specialties that include Anaesthesiology, Tuberculosis and Chest Disease, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Family Medicine, Ophthalmology, Paediatrics, Radio-Diagnosis, and ENT.
Dr. Shetty said, ‘Launching of diploma courses in eight broad specialties is the most radical reform and now the ball is in the court of state governments to apply for PG seats.’ He further highlighted that the necessity for many PG seats has been witnessed every year. About 170000 doctors take up the NEET-PG examination to acquire admission into about 50000 PG seats available under the National Board of Examinations and the Medical Council of India. The National Board of Examinations provides about 15000 non-clinical seats.
This indicates that every year, about 120000 doctors who don’t acquire admission won’t continue their clinical works. Some of them waste about 2 to 5 years by joining coaching institutes while some give up their aim of becoming doctors. By augmenting at least a few thousand seats in PG Diploma courses will help these doctors continue their work in either private or accredited Government hospitals.
As per the clinical data, there are only 40000 anaesthesiologists, less than 40000 pediatricians, and 10500 radiologists in India. Dr. Shetty said, ‘Introduction of diploma two-year PG courses makes me optimistic that we can pull back at least 30,000 to 40,000 doctors in the mainstream to treat patients.’ Dr. Alexander Thomas, the President of the Association of National Board of Accredited Institutions said that these diplomas will show a massive impact in the medical field. Moreover, it helps in handling the shortage of doctors in the aforesaid specialties in rural areas of the country.
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