With a high prevalence of infectious diseases like tuberculosis and meningitis in India, a team of Indian American doctors will stress on the importance of specialization in such diseases during their meeting with Indian officials Monday.
"Unlike in the US, where infectious diseases specialty has been present for decades, in India this is an area not focused upon adequately. The result is while there are 6,500 infectious disease (ID) specialists in the US, there is no such specialty in India," said Navin C. Shah, a noted Indian American physician.
"In addition to the normal burden of such diseases, patients with AIDS, cancer or transplantations are very prone to infectious diseases. These patients, many a times, require highly trained ID specialists to assist them in their treatments," Shah, a founder of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, which represents 41,000 doctors, told IANS.
A team of five US specialists led by Akshay Shah, and six from India will be making a joint presentation to the National Board of Examinations, an autonomous institute under the ministry of health and family welfare, about the desirability of introducing ID specialty in medical education.
Shah revealed that during discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Health Minister A. Ramadoss in January this year, the concept had received considerable support.
"Based on the US and India experiences, the joint meeting Monday will discuss a model curriculum and qualifications for ID specialty, which will be presented to the National Board of Examination for consideration," said Shah.
He is keen on closer cooperation between the medical fraternity of both countries to "connect India and the US medical faculties so that we can rotate the specialists. This will help the American doctors to also learn about tropical infectious diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy".
Shah is a medical education director at the Maryland-based Metropolitan Urologic Institute.