The Health Ministry and Medical Council of India (MCI) are planning a short, 3.5-year medical degree for rural students. They would exclusively serve the rural areas, as doctors from outside are not willing to practice in remote areas.
There is a huge inadequacy of doctors serving in the rural areas. According to fourth Oxford India Business Forum there are 0.6 doctors per 1,000 people in rural India. So, the health ministry is backing this innovative medical qualification to fulfill the UPA government’s commitments under National Rural Health Mission-2009.
This 3.5 years undergraduate ‘Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery’ (BRMS) degree would be awarded in two phases. First at Community Health Facility for one and half years and later at sub-divisional hospitals or secondary level hospitals for two years.
Institutes in rural areas would offer this BRMS degree with an annual sanctioned strength of 50 students. It is said that the selection of students would be based on merit in the 10+2 examination with physics, chemistry and biology as main subjects. A student who has had his entire schooling in a rural area with a population below 10,000 would only be eligible for this course.
MCI is also proposing to register them with state medical councils as well as MCI itself. Registration would be granted provisionally on an annual renewal basis. It would entitle the holders of BRMS to practice in a rural set-up in the same district.
Some people are complaining that the health ministry and MCI are not paying enough attention to improve the rural healthcare system.