Medical College Director Interview: Practice and research don't go hand-in-hand, says K.S. Hegde Medical Academy Dean
Prof. B.Satheesh Kumar Bhandary, Dean of K.S. Hegde Medical Academy, Mangalore, speaks to Careers360 on the need to improve India’s medical education system. In this interview, the K.S. Hegde Medical Academy Dean talks about irregularities in the MBBS admission timeline. He also shares his views on issue of increasing PG medical seats’ number.
Read the interview to know what K.S.Hegde Medical Academy Dean says on MCI regulations on MBBS.
Careers360: What should be the focus of Medical Council of India regulations with respect to MBBS?
Prof. B.Satheesh: MCI regulation should focus on integrated teaching. The first year becomes difficult to most of the students due to voluminous of the subjects. If there is a mechanism to identify students to medical & health related disciplines early there could be orientation courses before joining medical related subjects at +2 level.
Careers360: With admissions happening so late do students get enough time during the first year to do well?
Prof. B.Satheesh: Presently in the first year MBBS, students get hardly 9 months and this becomes inadequate to complete the syllabus. College admissions should start by June so that students get a year including the exam. After completing the first year, there must be three months for orientation for clinical subjects. Special thrust should be given for skill up-gradation of the students in clinical studies.
Careers360: What steps are needed to improve the quality of teaching and research in medical colleges?
Prof. B.Satheesh: It is unfortunate that our contribution to research and publication is meagre in spite of having more than 381 Medical Colleges that offer MBBS in the country. We cannot expect practice and research to happen together, though there are exceptions to this. Appointments to the posts being strictly on merit and rewarding the staff handsomely monetarily and promoting research and publication can improve the research culture. Appointment of qualified full-time teachers who will be given Non Practicing Allowance like AIIMS New Delhi can attract bright minds. Although MCI has come out with lot of guidelines to address this problem, lack of a number of teachers with requisite qualification and aptitude is the main roadblock.
Careers360: Is there a need to double the number of PG seats in the country? How can this be achieved?
Prof. B.Satheesh: Yes, there is a definite need in increase of postgraduate seats in broad speciality and super specialty courses. In India, on an average 50,000 MBBS seats are available a year, whereas the number of postgraduate seats is only about 25,000. Majority of the MBBS students want to join postgraduate courses, mainly in clinical subjects. There is a need for specialty departments in district and taluk hospitals and the shortage of specialists is going to increase in the coming years. Therefore it’s necessary to double postgraduate seats, particularly in General Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Orthopaedics specialties and super specialties like Urology, Nephrology and Cardiology. Medical Council of India norms like student to teacher ratio and patients’ statistics can be relaxed to increase the intake in a time bound manner.
Careers360: What is the outlook for India's healthcare services sector? Is it going to see big changes?
Prof. B.Satheesh: By 2030 India is supposed to become the most populous nation surpassing China. Number of doctors India is producing is grossly inadequate compared to world doctor to patient ratio of 1:1000. In super speciality courses the situation is even grimmer. With increasing number of medical schools and corporate hospitals there will great demand for doctors and salary structure in the higher bracket compared to all other professions. India may have to cater to the requirement of West Asia and the western world as well. There is also scope for social service and the job satisfaction that comes with it is an added advantage.
There is a central government proposal to start medical colleges attached to district hospitals with a minimum number of MBBS seats of 60-100, to prevent mushrooming of medical colleges in cities, which leads to unhealthy professional practice
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