Bhopal: The role of modern medicine and medical education for the humanity has been very important. Many of the unfathomable opportunities, which were once thought to be unachievable, or the diseases, which were once thought to be incurable, are no more a problem to the mankind. But in spite of many achievements of modern medicine, there are certain challenges which still encompass the medical fraternity. One of the biggest challenges lying before the medical fraternity today is the huge gap between medical graduate (MBBS) and postgraduate (MD/MS) seats.
According to the last count, the Medical Council of India (MCI) annually presents 52,965 and 22,850 graduate and postgraduate medical seats respectively in India to medical aspirants. The difference between these two numbers is huge. In contrast, the US has 19,000 undergraduate and 32,000 postgraduate medical seats. The UK too has similar ratio. This means that even after desperately enrolling themselves at coaching classes and devoting years preparing for PG entrance tests, getting a PG seat remains a dream for many deserving medical graduates in India, some of them though just migrate to the US or the UK for getting a PG degree.
Sohail Mailk, a 4th year MBBS student, said, “This is my last year in MBBS, after this I will be doing internship and will be preparing for pre-PG exam which I’m hoping to crack as soon as I complete my internship. But I’m very much confused how will I manage to score good marks and secure a PG seat that also in a good college. Internship is very important and I need to focus on that to make our clinical part strong, but focusing only on internship will make it even more difficult for me to focus on PG preparation.”
Akanshi Jaiswal, a 3rd year MBBS student, said, “These days there is no value of a MBBS doctor at all, as all the patients want to get treated by specialists because patients have a mindset that MBBS doctors have less knowledge and a specialist will treat them the right way.”
Aware of the fact that just having an MBBS degree will not help much in their professional career, medical graduates start preparing for extremely competitive ‘pre-PG’ examination for admission to the limited number of residency position in India which are given towards the end of the internship. A high score on pre-PG exam is very essential to obtain a residency position; students devote little time and effort to achieve the goals of the internship experience, which contributes in declining the quality of doctors. Ayushi Baghel, a 2nd year MBBS student, said, “Pre-PG exam is based mainly on theory part, so students get too much engrossed in learning the theory part and they don’t try to work on their clinical part which leaves them weak on the clinical part.”
Then there is the aspect of reservation which allows medical students from socially backward classes with less marks to get admission in PG courses instead of the one from the general group with better marks and performance. Also, admission in private medical institutions largely depends on the paying capacity rather than merit of the medical aspirants.
Rahul Singh, an MBBS graduate currently preparing for pre-PG examination, said, “The need of the hour is to increase the number of medical colleges and PG medical seats in India. It’ll surely neutralise the stress that is there in the head of almost all the medial students preparing for pre-exposure that there are so less number of seats, what if I won’t be able to make it.”
But Sudha Gupta, an MBBS graduate doing her internship, has a different opinion. She believes that the difference between UG and PG seats is good, as “it’ll improve the quality of the doctors and standard of medical education. The most deserving and hardworking candidates will get the seat. It ensures that substandard students won’t get admission.”
Priyanka Tiwari, an MBBS graduate who has been trying for the pre-PG exam for the last two years, said, “Pre-PG exam should be conducted on the basis of both theoretical and experimental knowledge of the medical aspirants so that the most deserving candidates with requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and responsiveness and those who can function appropriately and effectively as a doctor get the PG seats.”
The public health system also needs to be hugely expanded to take on the burden of the rural health system. Studies suggest that the Indian government spends 1.5% of its GDP on health, compared to 8% by Afghanistan and 30% by UK. The health situation isn’t going to improve till the government changes its priorities and gives due importance to providing affordable and accessible medical care to all its citizens. Increasing the health and medical education budget will definitely help create opportunities for more MBBS graduates to get themselves enrol in PG courses and thus serve the people with better skills and knowledge. People passing out with insufficient medical training are dangerous for the society.
by Paneeni Sharma