With people-doctor ratio six times lower in rural India in comparison to cities, the central government on Thursday said it will
produce 145,000 rural doctors through a truncated medical course designed after the Chinese “barefoot doctors”.
“The proposal envisages training persons from rural areas on the basis of merit to equip him or her to primarily, I underline, primarily to work in 145,000 sub centres,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here.
Azad said the proposed Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS) course, nicknamed as rural MBBS, will be a community based solution to the public health challenges in rural areas.
This course will be of three-and-half-years as against the conventional of five years of training.
The 145,000 health sub-centres, the first medical treatment point for villagers, are now being manned by Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM). Through rural MBBS course, the central government will deploy at least one doctor at these centres. They will also be appointed in some primary healthcare centres (PHCs) to assist the regular MBBS doctors.
He said not recognizing the need for trained medical human resources in rural areas and unwillingness to consider new ideas for addressing it will not help the situation.
There is a visible urban-rural dichotomy in healthcare delivery in India. While urban India has 200 doctors for every 100,000 population, the ratio is one sixth in rural areas.
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