India is touted as the world’s pharmacy, considering the production of allopathic drugs in highest levels both in their variety and monetary value. The country also has the distinction of being home to the world’s supply of vaccines. Call it a paradox or whatever else, the land has the highest number of victims of many diseases, notably tuberculosis, cancer and malaria, apart from being described as the world’s diabetic capital. The factors underlying these contrasting features of India’s image on health-illhealth combo count are many, including (a) Ignorance about disease-causing vectors, (b) Masses living in insanitary environments, (c) High cost of medicines, (d) Unaffordable tariffs for medical attention in well-equipped hospitals, (e) Large presence of medical practitioners poor in their diagnostic skills, (f) Low ratio of population to medical practitioners in specialised branches of medicine, (g) Unchecked sale and consumption of adulterated food, particularly by economically weaker sections of society, (h) Insufficient family income to provide even the minimum budget for seeking medical treatment and so on, not to forget unabated quackery patronised by the captive seekers of remedies for afflictions.
A major part of the curriculum of the plethora of courses in India’s Universities is said to be unchanged for several decades. If that observation holds good for Medical Science Universities and Colleges also, then the drugs-diseases-doctors connect is well-nigh impossible to visualise for its consequences of rendering the land’s human resources burdensome costing the country humongously. As far as the scenario concerning the other systems of healthcare, such as Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathy, the cause- effect relation is beyond words.
Medical education for imparting the skills of diagnosing diseases as well as their causes and subsequently deciding on the appropriate line of treatment either by prescribing medication or advising surgical procedures has currently reached a point that a person doesn’t qualify to be recognised as a competent medical professional until he or she earns a post-graduate degree. The hassles as well as the cost of pursuing post-graduate education are too familiar to the literati to be gone into in detail in this column. In this backdrop, the agencies monitoring the functioning medical colleges and also allopathic medical practitioners in the country, namely Medical Council of India and its counterparts in the States are keeping a hawk’s eye on the vital ingredients of the sector namely (a) infrastructure, (b) faculty, adequate in competence and number, (c) services offered in the institutions.
News such as published the other day in a widely read daily, namely “Karnataka loses 2,410 UG seats in Medical Colleges don’t make anyone in society feel satisfied because of the reasons quoted for the happening Medical Colleges planning to move the Supreme Court against the action of MCI doesn’t augur well for either party. The matter calls for out-of-court settlement along with concerted action to address the imbroglio.