MARCH’10: If the proposal of the Health secretary K Sujatha Rao comes into action, then the premier technology institutes of the country- the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) would soon see doctors passing out from the premier institute.
Rao, in order to gain the consensus of various top honchos from top ministries, directors of medical institutes and chairmen of medical councils, who have been invited in a meeting by the health secretary today, will determine whether allowing institutes like IITs to teach medicine will “help medical education or dilute its quality.” Those called to attend include directors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), PGI (Chandigarh), Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute (Lucknow), JIPMER, NIMHANS, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, National Institute of Paramedical Sciences and principal of CMC Vellore. This will be the first major meeting to discuss the issue. Along with eminent doctors like Dr Ranjit Roychoudhury, Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Anupam Sibal and cardiologist Dr K Srinath Reddy, chairman of the Medical Council and the Nursing Council of India will also attend the meeting. The main pointers of the meeting would be to discuss major issues: if MBBS programme can be introduced at IITs, replacing the existing Medical Dental, Nursing and Pharma Councils of India to create the National Council for Human Resource in Health (NCHRH) – as the overarching regulatory body and will address the medical personnel crunch in India. An official from the health ministry said that, “We would like to know the experts views in order to understand the feasibility of the proposal, if starting medical courses in IITs will boost medical education in India. Once we have a consensus of all the experts we would send it to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry for further consideration.” In about three years, some IITs like Kharagpur and Hyderabad are working upon to start medical schools in about three years. According to the Ministry officials, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between IIT Kharagpur and University of California, San Diego, to set up a hospital, which will offer graduate, postgraduate, and research programmes in medicine and bio-medical engineering. IIT Hyderabad has been expressing its interest to offer MD degrees in three years. HRD minister Kapil Sibal in a recent meeting with IIT directors, had asked them to expand their courses.