“We need to improve our education system if we want a change” : Dr Pratibha Gupta, Dean – School of Medical Sciences and Research, Sharda University, India

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Dr Pratibha Gupta, Dean, School of Medical Sciences and Research, Sharda University, besides receiving academic excellence throughout and being associated with a number of educational institutions, has undertaken various workshops on e-Learning, national medical assessment, and many other to enrich her knowledge with advancing technology. In conversation with Shally Makin, she enunciates on the need to improve Medical education system.

What is the present medical education scenario in India?

The present medical education system is almost on the same pattern as it was introduced to us in 1964-1970. Although there is a little change with introduction of community medicine taught in the first year of the course itself and developing the applied aspect in the field.

What are the loopholes faced by the medical education system? How can they be removed?

There seems to be many loopholes viewing the pattern of teaching these days for MBBS course in other countries. We do not have self directed learning hours or motivation gatherings, no vertical or horizontal integration in various disciplines is set in a pattern. There are fewer seminars and group discussions with the grueling session of lectures. The examination pattern has been the same over the decades. Gradually, deferred quality of doctors needs immediate attention and we need to improve and implement better education system if we want a change.

What is your opinion about medical training in India? Why are we not able to retain talent?

The medical training in India is still following the traditional form of teaching and learning process. The students in their internship period do not pay much attention to the subject like clinical skills as they are busy preparing for PG entrance exams.  To overcome such issues, MCI had conducted a workshop which proposed to have a common PG entrance exam just after final MBBS and involve these medical graduates before they get busy with other things. Also, to retain talent we need to encourage talent and provide them with good guidance. We should try and reciprocate in terms of their talent in many other ways.

Rural India, today, faces a serious lack of doctors and healthcare facilities. What needs to be done with medical education to bridge the rural-urban healthcare divide?

I duly agree that rural India faces a serious lack of doctors and healthcare facilities. Perhaps our training requires a change by inserting the word ‘must’ with a written undertaking that a medical graduate on whom Government of India spends so much, must serve in rural area for a stipulated time.

At present, the doctor and patient ratio in our country is1:1700, where as the world average is 1.5:1000 as mentioned in the workshop by MCI on 29.3.11.

To meet this challenge either we need to increase the number of medical colleges in the country or increase the number of seats as per norms of MCI so that quality in training medical graduates is not compromised at all. The demand of doctors is increasing as per the population at both levels, urban as well as rural areas of our country.

Are you satisfied with this year’s budget for Health and Family Welfare? Your expectations with the next year budget?

Although, there was a plus point that Government will provide health support system for house maids in terms of health insurance. But the proper use of money spent either by Government sector or by private sector will only be useful if proper awareness is there in people at grass root level.

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