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Reforms in Medical Education

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Medical education has been besieged with inadequacies due to a massive mismatch between the demand and supply. Due to the sensitive nature of Medical education, it’s due expansion has been strictly controlled.

In the wake of recent developments whereby the government has set up a high-level committee to restructure the Medical Council of India (MCI), which has again been emboldened by strictures from the Supreme Court.

eHEALTH spoke to some of the leading voices from across on a set of questions pertaining to the future of Medical Education in the country.

Here are the excerpts of some of them.

FS-MehtaDr FS Mehta
Member, MCI (representing Geetanjali Medical College Hospital, Rajasthan)

What in your opinion is the progress pertaining to setting in reforms in the space of medical education at the national level?

Generally, the quality of medical graduates has been deteriorating over the years. The regulatory bodies and institutions aiming excellence in medical education have recognised this problem and have started working on this issue.

  • Medical education units are now set up in all the medical colleges for the development of the faculty and innovations in teaching and learning methodologies.
  • Basic life support and early clinical exposure are proposed to be introduced from the first year itself to increase the clinical acumen of students.
  • A formal curriculum on attitudes and communication (ATCOM) is being introduced from the coming year by the MCI to train MBBS students to develop effective communication skills.

All these reforms aim at improving the quality of an indian medical graduate.

What are the key elements and experiments that have differentiated your state from the rest?

The following are the efforts of my institution towards medical education:

  • Regular faculty development programmes
  • Well-structured mentor-mentee programme for grooming budding medical professionals
  • Roped in the parents of the students by sending them the monthly attendance of their wards to improve regular attendance of students
  • Promotion of research in medical education, where the faculty conducts innovations for academic excellence and quality assurance in medical education
  • Promotion of scientific research among medical students. Every year our students are selected by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for short-term studentship (STS) projects
  • Workshops are conducted for interns for developing communication skills and better understanding of good doctorpatient relationship. Focus is on bringing out competent and quality medical graduates.

In what all ways can the morale of the medical fraternity bolstered to be able to provide an inclusive medicare ecosystem?

The morale of medical fraternity can be boosted by enunciating the following steps:

  • Objective assessment of faculty in terms of feedback from students, colleagues and heads of department (HODs). All these inputs should be taken into consideration for improving teaching standards and enhancing monitoring benefits.
  • Faculty members involved in research and publications should be allowed sponsored registration for conferences.
  • Faculty should be encouraged to present papers in international conferences by allowing sponsored travel once in five years.
  • Special grants be given by authorities for research projects.

 

ChikkananjappaDr Chikkananjappa
Ex-President, Karnataka Medical Council

What in your opinion is the progress pertaining to setting in reforms in the space of medical education at the national level?

Medical education has become totally commercial. The offshoot of this is that even medical profession has become commercial and corrupt. Medical education urgently requires major surgery. One good thing is the introduction of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), and we must congratulate the apex court.

In what all ways can the morale of the medical fraternity bolstered to be able to provide an inclusive medicare ecosystem?

  • MCI over years has emerged as a weak body, resulting in poor quality of medical education. “Ghost Teachers and Ghost Patients” do the trick during inspections. The old MCI Act and Rules should be rewritten and Inspector Raj should be put to an end. Every district headquarters should be granted a medical college, preferably government college with an intake of 100 and not more than 150.
  • 50 per cent of the seats should be made available for postgraduate degree and 25 per cent for super speciality. This way deficiencies of medical teachers will be solved and the quality of medical profession will improve.
  • Conduct joint inspection by the government representatives, MCI, state government, state council and health university and tick a pro-forma while granting a medical college and increasing intake, new courses, etc., to root out red tapism and corruption.

In brief, we want more doctors and medical teachers, but we need doctors and teachers with ethics and competence. A strong legislation to put an end to commercialisation is the answer for the malady. At the same time, eradication of quackery that has become a pandemic is the urgent need of the hour.

 

Raj-BahadurDr Raj Bahadur
Member, MCI (representing Baba Farid University of Health Science Faridkot, Punjab)

In what all ways can the morale of the medical fraternity bolstered to be able to provide an inclusive medicare ecosystem?

There is tremendous scope to improve the medical education at the national level and sincere efforts must be undertaken to rescue the fast dwindling standard of medical education in the country. Unfortunately, the corporate sector has brought in a substantial gap in medical education.

University, being the statutory body, is putting its all efforts to bring back lost glory in various steps:

  • Surprise inspections are being conducted. Information gathered is now shared with the national statutory bodies in medical, dental and nursing councils of India.
  • Theory exams at a neutral place are being conducted.
  • Cases of unfair means in the examination are seriously dealt without leniency.
  • Theory papers are now seriously evaluated, particularly in postgraduate courses.
  • Confidentiality of the external examiners is maintained. Additionally, the university reinforces upon them to conduct absolutely fair examinations.
  • To mitigate biasness by the examiners during evaluation, answer sheets are bar coded and scanned, and the process of e-evaluation is being started from the ensuing examination of the May-June session.
  • E-transfer of the question paper is conducted from the university to the examination hall where it is decrypted only half an hour before the examination.
  • During the selection process, no compromise be made in identifying a good teacher, particularly on aptitude, ethics, etc.

 

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