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Medical education needs radical reforms to address future healthcare challenges in India: Dr Nallamalla

A Raju, Hyderabad
Monday, November 9, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Stressing that the present medical education system is not effective and adequate enough to deal with the future healthcare challenges in India, Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, Country Director of Access Health India, opined that India needs to take urgent steps to revive and reform its age old medical education system and make it more robust and effective to deal with the future healthcare challenges.

Dr Nallamalla welcomed the central government’s action earlier in 2018 to repeal the 6 decade old Medical Council of India (MCI) Act 1956 and bringing the new National Medical Commission in its place. “I hope the new NMC Act that has come into force since September 25 this year will bring in the much needed reforms in the medical education sector. It is high time the new NMC Act is implemented to bring in probity, bring down costs, simplify procedures and enhance the number of medical seats in India, which are very much needed to taken on the healthcare challenges faced by this country,” Dr Nallamalla observed.

Adding further he opined that health professionals of today are required to have the needed knowledge, skills, and professionalism to provide safe, effective, efficient, timely, and affordable care to people. He/she is required to navigate the most complex healthcare system, to work in teams, to be proficient in handling disruptive technologies, to understand economics of healthcare, to have managerial skills to handle large and diverse teams, to be ethical, to demonstrate caring and empathy and to be abreast of rapid developments in medicine. Medical education of today should be able to groom such professionals to face medicine of 21st century.

“Medical education is the bedrock on which needs of ‘human resources for health’, one of the major building blocks of any health system, are met. Healthcare is the most complex of social systems and is essential to keep populations healthy and productive,” he added.

To meet the highly existing shortage and growing demand for medical professionals, Dr. Nallamalla insisted that there is a need to revisit the existing guidelines for setting up medical schools and according permission to number of seats. Methods of education across various fields are undergoing changes on account of advances in e-learning methods and tools, including remote learning, virtual class rooms, digital dissections, simulation systems for imparting skills etc. Extending teaching privileges to practicing physicians (both private and public) and allowing e-learning tools will address the shortage of quality teachers across the system. When taken together, the above can enable doubling of existing medical seats without compromising on quality of teaching.

Dr Nallamalla said that unlike earlier where the Medical Council of India has been mired in many controversies, resulting in deteriorating situation in the quality of education and as its policies and strategies were totally delinked from the rapid changes happening in health systems within the country and globally, the new NMC Act is going to completely change the medical curriculum and teaching methodologies which would address not just present healthcare challenges but will also design the curriculum to address the future challenges.

 

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