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3-year course for rural doctors

New Delhi, Sept. 20: The health ministry plans to launch a three-year medical practitioner’s course to meet the requirements of rural healthcare. The short course will exist with the current five-year MBBS.

A task force set up by health minister Anbumani Ramadoss will hold its first meeting tomorrow to discuss a new medical curriculum. It is expected to submit its report by October 30.

Ramadoss said today: “We are working towards a new curriculum that will integrate traditional and modern practices. The new curriculum is expected to be in place in another two years.”

Dr K.M. Shyamprasad, a member of the task force, added: “We want to shift the focus of healthcare from urban to rural centres.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen on a new healthcare system for the vast majority of people with no access to proper hospitals.

“We have now reached a conclusion that doctors educated in private medical colleges will never have the motivation to stay in villages,” Dr Shyamprasad said.

The three-year course is expected to produce doctors who will work in village primary health centres.

“There was a three-year licensed training course, which was abolished in 1952 when MBBS came to stay,” Dr Shyamprasad added. “We now want to revive the earlier system.”

There is, however, strong resistance from the elite medical fraternity, which, according to the task force, wants to “retain its monopoly over the profession”. But the government is determined to craft a new curriculum.

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