Is the medical education policy faulty?
Yes. In India, 62% of the deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases like heart ailments, diabetes, stroke, complicated pregnancies, and accidents... and also suicides (due to psychiatric reasons). An MBBS doctor cannot deal with these diseases. Nine of the top 10 diseases affecting Indians are non-communicable ones. Out of 28 million pregnancies, 5.6 million require Caesarean operation but we don’t have enough gynaecologists, anaesthetists and radiologists. Every 10 minutes, a mother dies in India. Our mother mortality rate is only slightly better than the sub-Sahara countries. India definitely needs many more specialist doctors.
Why has MCI failed to address these issues? Why didn’t you take any measures when you were at its helm?
MCI increases the seats but mainly in the non-clinical subjects. We need more clinicians. In 2010, when I was in MCI, we allowed the teachers in government colleges to enrol two PG students instead of one. But 67% colleges in India are owned by private players. We should allow them to double the intake. Besides, very few government colleges doubled the intake. That means, without any extra hospital or teachers, PG seats could be increased up to 29,000 from 14,500 immediately.
Private colleges are allegedly replete with corruption and poor infrastructure. Should we not look at the quality they churn out?
See, there are very good private colleges and very poor government colleges or vice versa. It is the MCI’s job to ensure good infrastructure and teachers for these colleges. Why should youngsters be deprived of this?
How can India be compared to US and the UK whose health budget is nearly 10-15% of the GDP?
India has first world regulations but third world infrastructure. This needs to be changed very soon.
So, what is needed?
A political will. That’s it.