Azad’s project hits new roadblock

More than three months after the parliamentary standing committee rejected the proposal of Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s pet project rural medicine course, it seems that the course has hit another road block.

Notwithstanding recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, while the health minister had approached the Cabinet recently, now even the Cabinet has raised its doubts over the course and has asked the health ministry to get the course endorsed from the states before the matter is taken up in the Cabinet.
The health ministry took it to the higher level as according to them they did not find enough substance in the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee. However, the recent direction from the Cabinet has left them perplexed. “The ministry had taken the proposal to the Cabinet. However, the Cabinet secretariat what be very sure about the proposal and have asked us to give response of the states on the said proposal,” sources in the health ministry said.
The undergraduate community health course was designed with a view to improve rural health infrastructure. But, in May 2013 the parliamentary committee taking suo moto cognisance on the proposed course opposed its introduction and instead recommended one year compulsory rural posting for medical graduates so that the shortage of doctors is met in rural areas.
The Centre had proposed introducing a 3.5 year Bachelor of Rural Medical Course, also known as B.Sc community health course, from the current session to produce community health officers for rural areas. In its recommendations, the panel had said that the government should continue its focus on strengthening the existing healthcare infrastructure by increasing the intake of MBBS doctors and should make rural posting compulsory for one year after internship. The panel also recommended that more nursing graduates be posted in sub-centres and the intake of nursing graduates may be increased.

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