Today, medical and pharmaceutical industry remains one of the most important sectors when it comes to development of the country and steady progress. With the inflow of funds leading to an increase in medical facilities around the country, there arises a need for qualified medical personnel. India, with its current state of medical personnel education is facing a crisis in tandem with the same.
To put this in a clearer picture, India, according to the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is in need of four lakh doctors to meet the desired doctor patient ratio and with the current conversion rate of medical personnel; it is far from achieving the same. As of 2017, there were 10.4 lakh doctors registered in the country and assuming the availability of the same to be 75-80% we can assume we fall well short of 1:1000 desired ratio. With that in mind it is essential to divert our attention to the reasons of the decline in numbers and why India, leading in medical industry still falls short of doctors.
The major issues in lack of medical personnel are;
- Involuntariness to join public medical centres – for every rural area under the control of the government there is a Primary Health Centre which requires one doctor each. Even with the availability of the required personnel, 8200+ posts are yet to be filled. When we see government hospitals namely the ones under the name of community health centres, we see in India there were 5510 CHCs and out of the required 22500(approx) personnel positions only 4156 were filled.
- Migration to foreign countries – given the current scenario of state implemented healthcare systems and problems in wage earning and resource gathering, many doctors qualifying from our institutes migrate primarily to the UK and USA owing to their healthcare policies and prospective growth. We face a stagnation problem in the industry where medical personnel feel an absence of growth opportunities for themselves and hence, refrain from joining the Indian health care system.
Before 2017, there were a number of problems ranging from confusing guidelines of colleges to high fees of entry to them. These all piled up to the problem of producing good doctors for the country. There arose a need of an instant change in the medical education industry and it was achieved by the introduction of THE NATIONAL MEDICAL COMMISSION BILL, 2017. This bill aimed at setting up a National Medical Commission which will regulate medical education by ways of setting up fee limits of a number of seats in deemed and private universities. Certain steps taken to revamp the medical education system are;
- Framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals.
- Framing guidelines for determination of fees for medical colleges (private and deemed) regulated under the bill.
- Assessing requirements of human resource in the medical industry.
Other solutions to bring about a change in the medical education industry may include;
- Curriculum reform- Only 29% of medical school graduates (approximately 8,100) are able to enter postgraduate education positions in a clinical specialty in India, with another 10% qualifying for postgraduate education positions. This is due to the curriculum present and the stress it inserts on examinations. With the involvement of an internship year, a change was tried but given the importance of exams, many students didn’t focus on the same and it despite being a good measure hasn’t been that successful.
- Faculty improvement – one major aspect is to focus on development of existing faculty and the integration of new faculty. NTTC and support from FAIMER to the teachers have been step towards it but now arises a need of integration of faculty with the latest methodologies and help them adapt to global changes in their field.
- Digitisation and technological changes – with the rapidly changing environment and the introduction of new technological equipment in the teaching sector, the faculty and the students have to be made comfortable with using the same and given the opportunity to explore a newer, better learning method.
To conclude, the medical education is field is one of the leading fields in development of the country and is in need of care and development. The initiatives taken by the government successfully aligned with the voluntary help from private institutions can bring about a monumental change in the industry.
The overall involvement of all participants and the steady growth will help solve medical personnel problems in India and make it a leading party in not just producing doctors but in maintaining the biggest healthcare system.