The government has decided to start a three-and-a-half-year bachelor course in medicine and surgery (MBBS) for students from villages so as to fill up the vacancies for doctors in rural areas. However the caveat is that these doctors cannot practice in urban areas.
"These doctors will work in rural areas. District hospitals with specified bed capacities can be utilised as medical schools for these courses," said health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. In order to ensure that this requirement is complied with, the Medical Council of India (MCI) will renew the licenses of these doctors on an annual basis.
"Only 300 out of India's 604 districts have medical colleges. There are 34,000 medical seats available at the MBBS level out of which only 10,000 are left for general students after quotas. Some very good students are left out due to stiff competition where mainly the urban students score better due to better coaching facility," said Dr Ketan Desai, president of Medical Council of India (MCI). He added that the course will allow rural students to pursue medical degrees.
The syllabus will be the same as the original four-and-half years course, "We have only condensed the new course by removing certain things like kidney transplant, angiography, MRI, and radiology from it. All we require at the village level is a doctor who can immediately attend to a patient. This doctor can refer serious patients to district or bigger hospitals," Desai added.