Indian Medical Association's Tamil Nadu State Branch (IMA TNSB) has sharply criticized the move by the Indian Health Ministry and Medical Council of India (MCI) to create and train doctors under the category, Bachelor in Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS). Doctors of the IMA TNSB point out that the proposed BRMS category will only create poorly qualified and ill trained doctors because there is already a shortage of medical teachers in India. Lacking a comprehensive medical study, a BRMS doctor may mismanage patients leading to complications and even death. Also, the objective of providing medical care for rural India can never be met by creating this new category for doctors because these doctors may eventually migrate and start practising in urban areas.
Observing that medical graduates today opt for a PG degree or to fly abroad because of poor pay and poorer working conditions, the IMA TNSB suggests that a three year period of compulsory rural posting with good infrastructure and good salary for doctors working in PHC, created for every 20, 000 population can take care of the medical service for rural India.
In order to cater to the 70% demand in rural areas, the Ministry of Health should take immediate measures in the budget to better equip PHCs and sanction an encouraging salary for medical graduates to draw their attention to rural India. IMA TNSB also suggests instituting a post graduate degree such as MD Rural Medicine with subjects including Community medicine, Toxicology and Infectious diseases, allowing those working for five years to appear directly for the exam.
Parallely the local Administration should step up its efforts to provide fresh air, safe drinking water and safe disposal of waste and sewage to check infectious diseases that constitute 80% of rural India's ailments.
The move to create the BRMS study category has been dubbed a retrograde step that could dilute the high standard associated with Indian medical professionals everywhere in the world. IMA TNSB has presented the case before Indian citizens and welcomes suggestions for further course of action to oppose the newly proposed BRMS category of medical study in India.