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NMC Bill aiming to reform Healthcare would cripple India’s health affairs

Medical professionals pursuing Indian system of Medicine, i.e. Ayush, would be allowed to practice modern medicine, after undergoing a bridge course, according to an NMC bill tabled in the Lok Sabha.

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing apex medical education regulator, the Medical Council of India (MCI), with a new body, was moved by the government in the House yesterday.
Quackery is rampant in our country and wrecks big havoc to health. Now Govt has found an easy way to tackle this – legalise it!!

NMC bill says that Ayush doctors may undergo ‘bridge course’ to enable them to prescribe modern medicine. It’s like asking a taxi driver to sit in the cockpit twice and start flying aircrafts.

We’ve nothing against the Indian systems of Medicine, though some foreign methods have been proven to be fake. Why should the Ayush Drs practice Modern medicine at all? Is it that their system is inadequate or incompetent to treat. If so, why should we have these courses? If Modern medicine is the only effective treatment method isn’t it more appropriate to give these Drs an option to either practice their system or switch over to Modern Medicine after being trained fully rather than creating half-baked quacks through ‘bridges’.

The reason cited is a deficiency in rural health. This is certainly not due to lack of Drs, but of infrastructure. India had 9,88,922 Modern medicine doctors registered with the state medical council or MCI as on June 30, 2016. Every year we are producing another 65 thousand. Needless to say that there’s no dearth of numbers. What’s lacking is proper deployment.

Creating more pilots won’t improve air connectivity unless we’ve more aircrafts. This is exactly the situation with rural health. Creating more Drs would only increase their numbers in urban areas. Providing reasonable working conditions and adequate opportunity for higher studies would definitely draw young qualified Drs in large numbers to a rural area and would definitely improve rural health if that’s the intention of Government, which doesn’t seem to be the case.

Are rural population inferior citizens? Don’t they deserve equal health? First of all, there’s no guarantee that the bridged ones would stick to rural areas. In fact this would be their bridge to cities. And even if they stick to villages, doesn’t that mean that villagers are getting ‘bridged health’ while urban citizens enjoy ‘high way health’. How can our nation discriminate those living in rural areas?
Clause 49 of the Bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year “to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine”.

It has also proposed that specific educational modules or programmes for developing bridges across the various systems of medicine and promotion of medical pluralism, can be done with the approval of all the members present in the joint sitting.

It provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.

The commission will have a government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary, it says.A 25-member commission will replace the elected MCI, the Bill says.

The proposed measure has been strongly opposed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which claimed that it will “cripple” the functioning of medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.

“Regulators need to have an autonomy and be independent of the administrators. The National Medical Commission will be a regulator appointed by the administrators under their direct control,” IMA’s president K K Aggarwal said.

The Bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate (exit) exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences. The licentiate (exit) examination will have to be coducted within three years after Parliament passes it.

A medical advisory council, including one member representing each state and Union territory (vice-chancellors in both cases), the chairman, University Grants Commission, and the director of the National Accreditation and Assessment Council will make recommendations to the NMC.

No permission would be needed to add new seats or to start post-graduate courses, it says. The Bill tabled by the BJP government, claiming to bring the much-needed reforms in the medical education sector, would nevertheless open the floodgates of corruption and malpractices. It also abolishes the right and representation of State Medical Councils, and all State Representatives would lose their nominee privilege. The Bill aims to bring non – medical people such as Advocates, Chartered Accountants, etc in the proposed National Medical Council their by jeopardizing the medical system.

The NMC clearly points towards the evil agenda of the Central Government to take control of Medical education and reap lavish benefits. The much self-appreciate reform bringing bill will surely cripple the Healthcare system of the country if Ayush doctors, are allowed to practice modern medicine. The Indian Medical Association, the largest representative body of medicos in the country is planning for a nationwide movement in the upcoming week to oppose this draconian bill of the BJP GOVERNMENT. If passed by the Parliament, NMC will become a major disaster crippling the India’s healthcare affairs in the upcoming years and pray to the Almighty to safeguard your health.

(The writer of this article, Faiz Abbas Abidi is National Joint Secretary of All India Medical Students Association)

The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of www.whatthebeep.in

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