Sunday, December 02, 2007
Medical College Strike.....
I remember the days in which my brother and sister had studied hard for the public exams and their only aim was to become a doctor. A lot of the students had, have and will have this aim of becoming a doctor. In the Indian society and the media, the profession of doctor is considered as one of the most prestigious and respected one.
But, the strike and the chaos that is happening in the Medical colleges breaks this image. The government has suggested a new policy which states that "The course duration for MBBS is extendedfrom 5.5 to 6.5 Years. In the additional 1 year, the doctors MUST work for 4 months in a Village Hospital 4 months in a Taluka Hospital 4 months in a District Hospital.A salary of Rs.8000 will be provided for the work period.
Government (Health Minister) has stated that this would help both the Government Hospitals and also the doctors. But, a majority of the students are against this policy. They are not ready to accept either the increase in the duration or the compulsory work system.
Government has created 'Sambasivan Committee' to discuss this issue with the students. Chennai medical college students have expressed the following points to the commitee:
1. Government is spending crores for the students of IIT and IIM. But the students go out of the country after the studies. When there is no rule to stop them, why should the government impose rules on Medical students?
2. If the government is ready to pay 25000 then the doctors would readily join the Village hospitals. There is no real necessity for this new policy. Why is the government not ready to do the change in salary but try to force the medical students to join the service?
3. In the Engineering degree, students get placed during their third year. They earn about 30000 (????) per month. Why is government imposing rules on the Medical students?
I think the points mentioned by the students are all - actually - pointless. The course content and nature of work is totally different for the engineering graduates. There should not be any comparison between them. Also, Health ministry has brought this reform. There is no point in blaming the Health Ministryfor Brain drain, IIT and IIMs.
Also, we know that there are sevaral Village and Taluk hospitals which lack doctors. This reform could really be helpful for those hospitals. Then the issue regarding the salary....Well..I am not good enough to make any comments on salary....
The only valid argument is that the duration is already long and increase in one year will be difficult for the students. But, considering the nature of the work which deals with the lives of people, I thinkthere is nothing wrong if the students could have real time experience in the hospitals. Even in theengineering courses, which are not life impacting (except in a few occasions) there are real timeprojects which extend from 6 months to 1 year. So, I do not think there is anything wrong in the compulsory program.
Still, I feel that the health ministry could have handled this issue in a better way. It is a well known fact that any issues/reforms will have a political flavor in our country. The Health ministry has appointed a commission now to discuss this with the students. This could have been done earlier.Also, instead of immediate enforcements, Government could have brought them in a step-by-step manner.For example:
1. For 2 - 3 years, Govenment can announce that the scholarships would be provided for the students only if they under go this service.
2. Then, there would be preferences in the government Hospital appointments for the students with this service.
3. Then, students without this service could not join the Government hospitals.
4. The students below such and such score in practicals(say 90%...most would fall under this category) must go attend this service.
5. All the above policies could have been enforced in Government colleges and sponsored colleges initially and then slowly extended to other colleges.
Such step-by-step measures will not create a mass impact on the students.....