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`Medical education outdated'

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HONORARY DOCTORS: Vice-Chancellor of NTR University of Health Sciences R. Sambasiva Rao conferring Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) degree on former Principal of Guntur Medical College P. Lakshmana Rao, as former Vice-Chancellor of Acharya Nagarjuna University D. Bhaskar Reddy and former professor of ophthalmology, Guntur Medical College, K. Vengala Rao (extreme right), who were also conferred the degree, look on at the convocation held in Vijayawada on Wednesday.- PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR.
HONORARY DOCTORS: Vice-Chancellor of NTR University of Health Sciences R. Sambasiva Rao conferring Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) degree on former Principal of Guntur Medical College P. Lakshmana Rao, as former Vice-Chancellor of Acharya Nagarjuna University D. Bhaskar Reddy and former professor of ophthalmology, Guntur Medical College, K. Vengala Rao (extreme right), who were also conferred the degree, look on at the convocation held in Vijayawada on Wednesday.- PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR.

Staff Reporter

Expert says India is several decades behind the western countries in health care

Professor calls for solving common clinical problems It is estimated that HIV virus may infect 40 million Indians in the next two decades

VIJAYAWADA: Curriculum of medical education needs to be revamped to encourage problem-solving rather than information-gathering, president of National Board of Examination A.Rajasekaran has said.

Addressing the 10th annual convocation of the N.T.R. University of Health Sciences at the Thummalapallivari Kshetrayya Kalakshetram here on Wednesday, Prof. Rajasekaran said medical education was outdated and had of late become highly commercialised and lost its objectives. Greater emphasis had to be laid on solving common clinical problems rather than searching for cases, which one might come across once in a "blue moon" or never at all.

`Cost containment'

Medical education and training should aim at improving the quality of individual care, ethics, promotion of a healthy life style and protection of environment.

"Having been trained in tertiary care hospitals in urban surroundings influenced with pharmaceutical pressure, the doctor is not realising the need for cost containment which is most important in health care delivery today," he said.

On the type of doctors needed, Prof. Rajasekaran said that 60 to 70 per cent of the doctors should be family physicians, 20 to 25 per cent rural surgeons or general surgeons and only 10 per cent of them should be specialists and super specialists for tertiary care. Stressing the need for health education, he said that 80 to 90 per cent diseases were caused due to malnutrition and poor living conditions. Middle-level health professionals were needed to increase awareness of the public in health education. Every schoolteacher should be given health education.

Cuban example

In Cuba, every street had an identified health worker who could be contacted when someone fell sick or met with an emergency. Besides offering first aid, he or she, would arrange for transportation and appropriate referrals.

Prof. Rajasekaran said India was several decades behind the western countries in health care. The country was heading for an explosive increase in HIV infections. It was estimated that HIV virus would infect about 40 million Indians in the next two decades. "TB and AIDS are companions in arms. They aid and abet each other. TB is a time bomb and AIDS has shortened its fuse." To contain TB and AIDS, socio-economic emancipation was required. More resources should be provided for clean water, good nutrition, sanitation, housing and education. The recent occurrences of bird flu in the country were causing serious concern. The Maternity Mortality Rate was very high at 400 to 500 deaths for every one lakh births and neonatal mortality rate was also high, at 44 to 48 deaths for every 1,000 births.


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