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MCI adds MD in geriatrics following ministry of health’s focus on ageing population care

September 26, 2012

Medical Council of India (MCI) has decided to introduce MD (Doctor of Medicine) in geriatrics following the Union health ministry’s nod for the same. The MCI under its  revised post graduate medical education regulations 2012 included MD in Geriatrics.  The new speciality will now be offered from the coming academic year 2012-13 at all the government medical colleges.

Right now only one autonomous medical institution: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi offers MD in geriatrics. The Chennai- based Stanley Metical College is other institution in the private sector which offers the same specialty.

With a growing ageing segment estimated at 7.7 million of the total population, the  government has now recognized that there is a serious shortfall of specialists to provide the necessary diagnosis and treatment.

Now with the permission for all the government medical colleges to commence MD in Geriatrics, it would help to offset the imbalance of patient to geriatric physician availability, said Dr VP Rao, convenor, BioGenesis Health Cluster and Scientific Advisory Council, iBRAIN LifeSciences plc UK & India.

The Planning Commission too, under the 12th five year plan would allocate a separate fund for geriatric healthcare.

Accordingly now all government medical colleges will offer MD in Geriatrics. The MCI has stated that the new specialty or subjects in which Post Graduate degree is awarded by the Indian Universities and the eligibility requirements of candidates for registration would be the same as other PGs.

The candidates should have a recognized degree of MBBS. The infrastructural requirements in terms of lecture theatres and demonstration halls could be common at the government medical colleges. The research laboratories need to be well-equipped so that the teachers in the department would be able to work on solicited research projects. The department of MD in Geriatrics at the government medical colleges would have three staff members covering a Associate Professor/Reader along with an Assistant Professor/Lecturer and a Tutor/Demonstrator. The PG degree will be of three years duration.

Currently, it is General Medicine or disease related specialists who are treating the geriatric patients in. With the Planning Commission policy makers consenting to participate at the first international conference on Geriology, Geriatric Medicine and Rehabilitation titled ‘Healthy Ageing in the Changing World 2012’ to be held on September 29, at the JN Tata Auditorium in Bengaluru, we will see several developments in geriatric healthcare, Dr Rao added.

Present situation in geriatric healthcare indicates a serious shortage of medical experts. The country also has scope for dedicated geriatric hospitals and the now with efforts to create the required availability of medical experts it would become a reality, said Dr Anoop Amarnath, director, and Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru.

Dr Amarnath who is also the head of geriatric department at Apollo Hospitals, said that treating the senior citizen population was a challenge because it required day-to-day management, close monitoring of the disease and drugs. India has now separate  Geriatric departments in the public health system but many private hospitals have taken on the onus to set-up exclusive departments for the senior citizens.

Among the common geriatric diseases are diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart problems, cancer and dementia. A study on the progression of kidney disease in India carried out a geriatric patient sample size of 100 in 2011, reported a 2.5 times increase compared to the West which reported one percent. Yet another study highlighted a growing incidence of inappropriate drug prescription in the geriatric population. Doctors who specialize in geriatric medicine would be able to control indiscriminate drug administration, pointed out Dr Amarnath.

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