The workshop-cum-brainstorming session on ‘Right to health and creating new cadre of doctors for primary/basic healthcare’ concluded here on Saturday with a suggestion to the State government to implement the proposed three-year course of Bachelor of Science (Community Health) as ‘Diploma in Community Medicine and Surgery’ from the academic year 2013–14.

The workshop suggested that all such diploma holders must serve in rural areas for at least five years to become eligible for lateral entry for a two-year programme to obtain a MBBS degree and, subsequently, pursue further advancement to speciality and superspeciality courses/qualifications.

Another resolution adopted was in support of adequate salary package to diploma-holders serving in rural areas.

The workshop was organised jointly by the Karnataka Health Systems Commission (KHSC) and KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research. It was held in the backdrop of the government decision to introduce a new three-year course of Bachelor of Science (Community Health) to address the acute shortage of doctors in rural India. The proposal has been backed by the Planning Commission.

The proposal, as pointed out by KLE University Registrar V.D. Patil, has drawn criticism from medical associations such as the Indian Medical Association.

The Medical Council of India has, however, accorded its approval to the course, paving way for its implementation.

Delivering the keynote address, KHSC Chairman N. Prabhu Dev pointed out that a large urban-rural divide was visible in terms of location of healthcare facilities and their quality.

This divide was only increasing with decreasing access to services for patients in rural areas and urban slums

Grim picture

Further, the Planning Commission had painted a grim picture of the health sector and blamed the shortage of medical professionals for the dismal scenario.

He said the public healthcare had suffered during the last two or three decades because of non-availability of medical and paramedical staff, diagnostic services and medicines.

Availability of specialist manpower in community health centres was particularly bad as against the sanctioned posts.