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The public good

Can policy makers promote the public good through coercion? In order to get medical care to rural areas the government has proposed that rural medical service be required for an MBBS degree. In the editorial a senior medical teacher comments on the proposal.

Registering clinical trials encourages transparency, makes trial results public and prevents duplication of research. A researcher discusses the obligations of institutional research ethics committees following the recent launch of the Clinical Trials Registry-India.

A recent World Health Organization guidance note on provider-initiated testing for HIV has provoked sharp reactions. Activists working with positive people comment on the ethics of this proposal in the context of the provider-patient relationship in India.

Can public-private partnerships in healthcare improve the quality and distribution of such services? We carry an Indian and a global perspective on this subject.

From Pakistan, a web-based discussion among doctors on suicide provides different insights from within the profession. Not only is suicide illegal, it is forbidden in Islam. Some physicians may face a conflict between their obligations and legal and religious sanction.

The case study and response discuss the various pressures on public hospital staff to limit treatment given to the terminally ill.

Cover: Outpatient department at the MGIMS, Sewagram, Maharashtra. Photograph: S P Kalantri

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A P Rajkumar, B Saravanan, K S Jacob
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