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Govt Decision To Allow Split Campuses Will Widen Healthcare Net

August 14, 2012

The Union health ministry has decided to allow split campuses — medical college and a hospital within 10 km of each other across the country — to reduce India’s skewed ratio of medical college distribution.
So far, split campuses were allowed in nine cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kanpur and Pune. In a notification — to be released within a few days — the health ministry will allow medical colleges to start on 10-acre plots instead of 25 acres.
Ministry officials say medical colleges in some states are shutting down hospitals inside towns due to unavailability of land and opening sprawling campuses on the outskirts inconveniencing patients.
Union health secretary P K Pradhan told TOI, “We will allow split campuses across India now. Land unavailability should not hamper medical education.”
At present, India has a density of one medical college per 38.41 lakhpopulation. Around 315 medical colleges are spread across 188 of 642 districts. The ratio is worse in certain states. For instance, there is only one medical college for 115 lakh in Bihar, UP (95 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (73 lakh) and Rajasthan (68 lakh), whereas Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have medical college for 15 lakh, 16 lakh and 19 lakh, respectively.
India has the largest number of medical colleges in the world, producing over 30,000 doctors and 18,000 specialists every year.
However, the country’s average annual output is 100 graduates per medical college in comparison to 110 in North America, Central Europe (125), Western Europe (149) and Eastern Europe (220). China, which has 188 colleges, churns out 175,000 doctors annually with an average of 930 graduates per college.
Experts say there is an acute need for medical colleges to come up in states like Odisha, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, which are not only facing acute shortage of human resources but also have poor health indicators. “Sometimes a hospital does not have enough land to start a medical college. We have asked the Medical Council of India to relax norms to allow a split campus provided facilities like transportation and telecommunication are in place,” an official said.
The high-power expert group (HLEG) of the Planning Commission working on universal health coverage has proposed a phased addition of 187 colleges. The HLEG said by 2015 under phase A, 59 new medical colleges will admit students in Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and West Bengal. By 2017, 13 of these states will have an additional 70 medical colleges, and by 2022, 58 additional colleges will be built in two additional phases (2017-20 and 2020-22). By 2022, India will have one medical college per 25 lakh population in all states except Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
India will take at least 17 more years before it can reach the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended norm of one doctor per 1,000 people. The World Health Statistics Report (2011) says the density of doctors in India is six for a population of 10,000. India is ranked 52 among 57 countries facing human resource crunch in healthcare. Between 2001 and 2005, India had a doctor: population ratio of 0.5 per 1,000 population in comparison to 0.3 in Thailand, Sri Lanka (0.4), China (1.6), the UK (5.4), the US (5.5) and Cuba (5.9).
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Categories: Public Health
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