New Delhi: In a major setback to the government`s effort to improve rural health infrastructure, a Parliamentary Committee has opposed introduction of an undergraduate community health course to create a new pool of healthcare professionals.
The Committee has instead recommended compulsory one-year rural posting for fresh medical graduates to meet the shortage of doctors in rural areas.
The government had proposed introduction of a 3.5-year Bachelor of Rural Healthcare course, rechristened as BSc (Community Health) course, from the current session to produce Community Health Officers (CHOs) in rural India which did not have adequate number of doctors.
"In view of the opinion of a majority of members opposing introduction of BSc (Community Health) course, the Committee recommended that the government should not go ahead with the proposal for introduction of the course," the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said.
The panel, headed by Brajesh Pathak, said the government should continue its focus on strengthening the existing health care infrastructure by increasing intake of MBBS doctors and making provision of one-year compulsory rural posting for them after internship, which would help in providing healthcare for rural people.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had recently stated in Parliament that the proposed course was likely to be introduced in the states willing to adopt it from academic 2013-14.
Azad had also said that medical bodies like the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have not welcomed the proposal, but the government is committed to introduce the course, with inbuilt safeguards, to address the serious shortage of human resources in health sector in rural areas.