Health Ministry proposes to convert 75 district hospitals into medical colleges

Health Ministry proposes to convert 75 district hospitals into medical colleges
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New Delhi, June 9: The Health Ministry has proposed to convert 75 district hospitals into medical colleges in the third phase of a scheme which aims at boosting availability of human resource for the health sector.
The proposal is a part of the Centre-sponsored program Human Resources for Health and Medical Education, which was launched for the establishment of new medical colleges by upgrading district or referral hospitals preferably in underserved districts of the country.
In the first phase, the Centre had approved converting 58 district hospitals into medical colleges while in the second phase, 24 hospitals were selected. Out of these 39 hospitals have become functional while the remaining are still under construction.
“The proposal to convert 75 district hospitals into medical colleges in the third phase of the scheme has been sent for approval to the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC), after which it will be sent to the Cabinet,” a source said.
The upgradation of each of the 75 district hospitals into medical colleges would cost around Rs 325 crore, according to a draft proposal for the plan. If the proposal is realised, it would fulfil one of the promises made by the Bharatiya Janata Party in its manifesto for the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
Under the scheme, the State Governments put in a proposal earmarking hospitals in underserved districts to be converted into medical colleges, in line with the criteria that the district should have no other private or government medical college.
“The scheme aims at meeting the shortfall of human resource in the health sector. Medical colleges are unevenly spread across urban and rural areas of the country presenting wide disparities in the quality of education. The shortfall of human resource in health has resulted in skewing the distribution of health workers such that vulnerable populations in rural, tribal and hilly areas continue to be extremely underserved,” a senior Health Ministry official said.
The scheme will serve to create an additional 10,000 MBBS and 8,000 post-graduate seats in the country, bridge the gap between the number of seats available in Government and private sector, mitigate the shortage of doctors and medical faculty in India and achieve the desired doctor- population ratio.
The registration data from professional councils indicates that the availability of one doctor per population of 1953 (HLEG Report) is far less than that of one doctor per 1000 population recommended by the World Health Organisation. Further, to meet the requirements of Universal Health Coverage there is a need for improvement in the country’s present doctor population ratio from 0.5 per 1000 persons to one doctor per 1000 persons by the end of the year 2027.
The scheme mentions that the country has one of the largest number of medical colleges in the world, producing over 57, 000 doctors and 25, 000 specialists. However, India’s average annual output of graduates per medical college is much less as compared to 149 in Western Europe, 220 in Eastern Europe and 930 in China.
Further, the medical colleges in the private sector have increased exponentially where poor students find it difficult to afford education. This also necessitates increase in MBBS seats in Government medical colleges.
“Hence, by opening new government medical colleges by attaching existing district/referral hospitals on one hand and liberalising some Medical Council of India norms on the other, a substantial number of MBBS seats can be increased,” the scheme states. (PTI)