New Delhi: A new three-and-half-year Bachelor of Science (Community Health) course, prepared by the union government in consultation with the Medical Council of India (MCI), is likely to be introduced from the academic year 2013-14 in the states willing to adopt it, according to the union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
In written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Azad said the main objective of the proposed course, earlier known as Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC), is to create mid-level health professionals who will be primarily deployed at sub-centres and would possess the necessary public health and ambulatory care competencies to serve the rural population.
According to the minister, the candidates eligible for the course will be those who have completed 10+2 with science subjects — Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The duration of the course will be three years with six months of rotational internship.
Admission as well as deployment will be district based as far as possible. After acquiring the BSc (Community Health) degree, the graduates will be employed as Community Health Officers (CHOs) by state government, said Azad.
A task force has been constituted to frame norms for requirement of physical infrastructure, facilities required in Rural Health Schools and examine aspects regarding introduction of the course. The matter is also being examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.
According to the health minister, a few medical associations like the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have not welcomed the proposal. “Nonetheless, in order to address the serious concern of shortage of availability of human resources in health sector in rural areas, the government is committed to introduce the course, with inbuilt safeguards,” Azad said.