Medical education: Easy entry for foreign' MBBS riles doctors

Resentment builds up over Centre's plan to cancel qualifying test for Indian students with foreign degree.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Widespread resentment prevails among doctors and medical associations over the Centre’s move to cancel the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE), the qualifying test for Indian students who have done their MBBS abroad. The proposed move will do away with the qualifying tests for those who did their MBBS from countries like China, Russia, Nepal, South East Asia and Eastern European countries. At present, they have to clear the FMGE before practising in India. The health ministry sent a proposal in this regard to the Medical Council of India based on a plea that it could plug the shortage of doctors in the country.

IMA state president Dr Jayakrishnan said screening test was being done away with in the name of removing deficiency of doctors in rural areas. “However, the basic problem was that the training in most foreign countries from where these students do MBBS was not on par with facilities available in India,” he said and added, “The doctors trained outside might not be able to practice in rural areas.” The IMA believes that many of them who go abroad for studies may not prefer to work in rural and backward areas especially Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand. The IMA suggested that in order to meet the shortage of doctors in rural areas, the government should allot medical colleges after taking state-wide medical manpower assessment.

Another alternative could be to establish a central medical service cadre to deploy doctors wherever they are needed. “It is strange that on the one hand the government was planning to start Licentiate examination for doctors in the country and on the other hand doing away with screening exams for foreign students,” Dr Jayakrishnan said. KGMOA state secretary Dr Raoof K.A. criticised the Centre’s move to do away with the qualification exams. He said there should be uniformity in norms for registration.

“Giving relaxation to MBBS students from foreign institutions will amount to discrimination. The government should not go ahead with the decision,” he said. A section of doctors said the students of private medical colleges could be better in objective theory examinations, but when it came to practical experience there was nothing like a government set up. Most doctors especially those in the north India are hesitant to work in rural and remote areas because of lack of basic infrastructure facilities. “I think the government should concentrate on providing better facilities in rural areas and upgrading medical care services,” he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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