While the Medical Council of India has refused to notify the proposed Bachelor of Rural Health Care course, the government is considering several other options – including a partnership with distance university IGNOU, or an independent regulatory set-up – to launch the course anyway.
“MCI does not want to notify the course, because they say it is not medical training, it is not meant to produce doctors. And I think that's fair enough,” said Keshav Desiraju, additional secretary at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “But we are certainly not scrapping the course…We just need some sort of regulatory mechanism.” He added that affiliation with the Indira Gandhi National Open University was one idea being considered, while another is the possibility of an independent regulator.
Mr. Desiraju, who has worked for both the Union Ministries of Education and Health, was speaking at a symposium on health education organised by the National Board of Examinations and the Public Health Foundation of India.
The Ministry is also considering a plan to locate medical colleges around district hospitals and hopes that this would be included in the 12th Five Year Plan.
“In the 1990s, the policy of allowing a large number of private medical colleges has led to a concentration of medical education in urban centres,” he said, adding that setting up more government colleges at the district level could help balance that out.