The suggestions made in the article “The wrong way for rural doctors” (Feb. 27) by Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss are worth considering. If all graduates and post-graduates coming out of medical colleges are compulsorily posted in rural areas for at least one year, I am sure most of the medical needs of villagers can be addressed. What we need is the requisite political will to implement the move, regardless of the hurdles faced by the government.
Jaya Prakash Reddy,
It is not fair to say that doctors who undergo three-and-a-half years of medical training will turn out to be “qualified quacks.” Many feel an MBBS course can be easily completed in three to four years. Establishing a rural cadre of doctors is not necessarily discriminatory. In villages, diseases like malaria, diarrhea, anaemia, and bronchitis are more prevalent whereas urban culture is characterised by diseases like cardio-vascular ailments, diabetes, etc., which are lifestyle disorders.
A huge chunk of population is treated by quacks due to the abolition of the LMP system, and the apathy of qualified doctors towards rural India. Since Independence, the number of medical colleges and medical graduates has increased but the condition in the villages has remained the same.
When doctors have already shown their resistance to the one-year compulsory rural posting proposal, one can well imagine their motivation and commitment levels if it comes into force.
Kapil Kumar Singh,
Dr. Ramadoss' article threw light on the appalling fact that rural India remains neglected in terms of professional health care services. Doctors trained in government colleges at the expense of the exchequer become indifferent to rural health care once they get their degrees. As students, they fight to get an admission in government colleges because they know they can get the best, especially a vast exposure to patients. And when they are called upon to work in villages for one year after completing the course, they put up a stiff resistance. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that nearly 75 per cent of India's population is served by quacks.
As a social worker, I have seen the functioning of PHCs and taluk hospitals in many rural areas at close quarters. The rural poor go through immense hardship to get qualitative medical care when they need it the most They are forced to go to quacks. Ministers may change, officials may change but something that does not change is the growing rural-urban divide.
Dr. Ramadoss deserves a pat on the back for exhorting the government to make use of the existing facilities, rather than introduce a short-term medical course for doctors to serve in the rural areas. He has logically concluded that anyone seeking admission to a post-graduate course in a government medical college should have done a minimum of three years' rural service. The proposal is laudable and should be implemented by the MCI.
Health problems of villagers are not exactly similar to those of the people living in cities. Preventable and communicable diseases are more prevalent in rural areas. The alternative cadre of doctors will get a fair amount of training in preventive health care when they undergo the three-and-a-half year course, Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery. They are not professional quacks but doctors trained to serve the underserved.
Keywords: rural doctors