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New Reforms to Boost Medical Education and Healthcare Professionals in India

The Indian healthcare industry has made great progress over the last decade with the government's goal of achieving the 3As of healthcare- affordability, accessibility, and availability. The COVID-19 virus has caused pressure on the healthcare system around the world, and India has not been exempted.

Due to the country's vast population and resulting scarcity of physicians and healthcare workers, the Indian healthcare industry is a major priority for the government.

To ensure that the country keeps producing trained doctors and healthcare workers, it must expand its healthcare infrastructure and enhance its  medical colleges in India .

Growth of Medical Education in India

With the rising global need for qualified physicians graduating from India, the country's medical shortage of doctors has become a major issue, mandating a new focus on medical education.

The Mudaliar Committee, also known as the 'Health Survey and Planning Committee, 1962,' planned 1 medical college for 50 lakh people, with a doctor-population ratio of 1:3000. Yet, as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO), a doctor-to-population ratio of 1:1000 is urgently required.

The number of medical colleges expanded from 387 to 596 between the years 2014 and 2021. MBBS seats in  top MBBS colleges in India  grew by 72%, from 51,348 seats to 88,120 seats and postgraduate seats expanded by 78%, from 31,185 seats before 2014 to 55,595 seats as per Minister of Health and Family Welfare in Lok Sabha session on 10th December 2021.

As an outcome, India's doctor-population ratio has grown to 1:1700. Throughout the last decade, all Indian states have improved medical college seat allocations, with  Medical colleges in  Karnataka  moving ahead with 13.6%, followed by Medical colleges in Maharashtra (11%) and Medical colleges in TamilNadu (10%).

Government Initiatives in Medical Education

The Indian government encourages the healthcare industry with improved regulations and facilities regularly. However, in recent times, the government has recognized the necessity of increasing the quality of healthcare professional education and training.

The government has made several key initiatives, including improving medical student enrollment, establishing new institutions, and supporting the growth of existing medical institutions.

The following government measures largely contributed to the recovery of India's medical education industry.

  • National Medical Commission (NMC)

The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019, was incorporated in August 2019 with the goal of 'curbing outlets of malpractice and boosting visibility, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education.'

The commission intends to improve the number of medical seats available and lower the cost of medical education to encourage more students to pursue careers in healthcare. Restructuring medical licensing systems, ranking medical colleges, and standardizing entry requirements at medical schools across the country are all essential reforms under the NMC.

To promote the NMC objective, four mutually independent and autonomous committees were established: The Undergraduate Medical Education Board, the Postgraduate Medical Education Board, the Medical Assessment and Rating Board, and the Ethics and Medical Registration Board. The NMC policy replaces the previous Medical Council of India (MCI) policy, which was never executed.

  • Implementation of competency-based medical education (CBME)

The Medical Council of India (MCI) launched the globally recognized CBME for MBBS students in 2019. The CBME curriculum seeks to step away from a content-based syllabus and more towards one that is more practical and aligned with the country's increasing health demands.

CBME encourages students' holistic development through new education improvements focused on resolving language, communication, and computer skills deficits.

Regular assessments and the integration of globally recognized procedures such as the Objective Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE) and mini-clinical evaluations are highly valued.

  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)

The PMSSY initiative, which was proposed in 2003, intends to address regional imbalances in cheap and reliable healthcare while also improving infrastructure to provide good medical education in deprived areas.

22 new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were developed under this initiative, and MBBS classes have already commenced at 18 of the new AIIMS. Several states have shown their support for the plan and have expressed intention to launch it.

Mr Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, announced the opening of seven new independent medical colleges in October 2021.

Other Reforms to Improve Medical Education

Emergency medicine departments in medical colleges

The  National Medical Commission (NMC)  confirmed in September 2019 that, by 2022-23, all medical colleges will incorporate an emergency medicine section to provide good trauma care.

Regulation of fees

In India, the cost of medical education is a major problem. As a result, in early 2020, NMC imposed several fee limitations, as private schools charge high fees, making it hard for economically disadvantaged but academically capable students to pursue their education.

Tuition costs for 50 per cent of MBBS and postgraduate medical seats in private medical institutions and universities will be limited under the proposed rules.

The National Exit Test

By 2023, the National Exit Test (NEXT) will be the substitute for the  National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)  and would be necessary for all MBBS grads and international medical grads, according to the National Medical Council (NMC). NEXT aims to make the medical education system more transparent, accountable, and consistent.

Physicians who have received their training in India or overseas will be required to take the NEXT to be qualified for the ultimate MBBS exam, apply for a practising license in India, and be considered for merit-based seat distribution in broader specialities.

The District Residency Scheme

This project was implemented in 2021, intended to improve health services at the district level. Second/third-year Postgraduate medical students would be required to complete a three-month training programme in district hospitals under this plan.

This approach is designed to expose students to a variety of cases in the district health system while also solving the district hospitals' medical personnel crisis.

Top Medical Colleges in India 2022

Tabulated below is the list of top 10 medical colleges in India.

  • AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Science) Delhi
  • PG Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
  • Christian Medical College, Vellore
  • National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
  • Sanjay Gandhi PG Institute of Medical Science
  • Amrita Center for Nanoscience and Molecular Medicine
  • Banaras Hindu University
  • King George’s Medical University
  • Kasturba Medical College
  • Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences

Due to the country's vast population, global need for physicians, changed government regulations, and advancements in pharmaceuticals and medical technology, medical education in India is growing in complete agreement with the healthcare business.

In the last 6 years, reorganized medical education strategies have addressed several challenges, including soaring tuition costs and ambiguity in college frameworks, growing medical seats, improving the education system, facilitating the gap between rural and urban medical colleges, and making the process of opening medical colleges easier.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 7:36:06 am | https://www.thehindu.com/brandhub/new-reforms-to-boost-medical-education-and-healthcare-professionals-in-india/article38333448.ece