The Indian Government has launched a unique healthcare scheme to improve the currently existing medical and surgical services in the rural areas. Additionally, doctors in the country's primary healthcare centres would be provided appropriate medical facilities to render their services in a better way.
Christened as 'Rural Surgery', the project will be launched by the National Board of Examination (NBE), a body of the health ministry, in June.
'Around 400 million people have no access to basic surgical care in our country and doctors at the primary healthcare centres are not well equipped to handle even minor surgeries. We are starting the new programme from the third week of June,' said NBE executive director A.K. Sood.
'It will be a three-year programme and all the MBBS doctors in primary healthcare centres will be eligible for it. These doctors will be trained to carry out minor surgeries, which often prove fatal for rural folks due to a lack of care,' Sood told IANS.
He said the programme would initially be limited to around 450 hospitals in India. 'Primary healthcare centres are not only lagging behind in advance technologies but also in basic surgical knowledge. Through this programme we will try to take small medical interventions as near to the masses as possible,' said NBE deputy director S. Roy Biswas.
'We have often seen that people in villages suffer for years without proper treatment of minor ailments. As they are not economically well off, it becomes very difficult for them to come out of their villages for treatment,' he added.
He said doctors would be trained to handle small cases like cataract surgery, minor ear surgery and tumours on external body parts.
To facilitate the programme, the NBE has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) to use its network across India.
'Apart from providing direct training in over 450 hospitals, we have signed an agreement with IGNOU to facilitate special classes from places like Delhi. Specialists will deliver lectures in the main centre, which will be relayed to other places through IGNOU's project EDUSAT.
There will be three-hour classes to demonstrate new techniques and provide lectures by specialists from both government and private hospitals,' Biswas said.
He said while IGNOU charges Rs.30,000 per hour from the users of the EDUSAT, it would take only Rs.10,000 from the NBE.