New Delhi: Indian Medical Association, the
apex body of doctors, has slammed the government`s reported
move to issue a "directive" to the Medical Council of India to
endorse rural medicine short-term course.
"IMA demands to know if the government is raising a new
cadre of health workers, why is it seeking recognition from
MCI It will be inappropriate on the part of the government to
give a directive to MCI on an issue which does not qualify to
be classified as `policy issue`," a statement by IMA
National President Vinay Aggarawal and Honorary Secretary DR Rai said.
It said MCI, the regulator of the country`s medical
education, is mandated to upkeep certain standards and "cannot
The reaction came on the initiative of the Union Health
Ministry to start a three-and-a-half year course of Bachelor
of Rural Medicine so that medical needs of rural population
can be catered to. The Health Ministry has reportedly asked
MCI to endorse the course.
"MCI should not be cowed down by the view points of the
government of the day. MCI is a national institution and its
submission to pressure on a crucial issue will make India a
banana republic," the statement said.
The IMA questioned the move of the government to start a
course in rural medicine saying that no disease is "confined
exclusively to the rural areas or the urban areas."
When contacted on phone, Honorary Secretary Rai said that
if government does not listen to IMA, it will start protests
all over the country against the move to send lesser qualified
doctors to rural areas.
"Lowering the standard of medical education and producing
low quality professionals for the rural areas is not the
solution," the statement said.
The Association said instead of rendering medical service
to the rural population in a manner equivalent to that is
available to the urban population, the government itself was
bringing out an "inequality and irrational discrimination"
which is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
"The notion that over 20-30 per cent of primary health
centres do not have a MBBS qualified doctor is not supported
by statistics provided by the government of India. Only 5.3
per cent of PHCs went without a qualified doctor. To say that
none of the 1.46 lakh sub centres have a qualified MBBS doctor
is a misrepresentation of fact to create a false case," it
The IMA said sub-optimal impact on disease burden in
rural areas was not due to shortage in human resources alone.
"Vacillation of policy makers and their inability to
choose between primary health care and vertical programmes is
a serious flaw," it said.