Getting doctors to the villages: will compulsion work?
Despite more than a half century of proclamations on primary healthcare, most rural facilities in India continue to lack enough providers, equipment and infrastructure to offer effective and efficient care. In the latest effort to address this inequitable distribution the union health and family welfare minister announced a plan requiring doctors to practise in rural areas before graduating. On completing their internship, students of the MBBS programme must spend 12 months in rural practice – four months each in a primary health centre, a community health centre and a district hospital. Only after this rural service will they be awarded an MBBS. This initiative, a part of the National Rural Health Mission, will come into force after the Medical Council of India Act is amended and approved by Parliament. The plan, when implemented, will apply to all government and private medical colleges in the country.
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