In the middle of all the packing and goodbyes, blogging is actually the last thing on my mind. But today I received a mail from a friend (who will remain uncredited until I have his permission to post this) about the new board of governors of the Medical Council of India which needed to be shared urgently. It is a sad reality that we face - the corporate sector has truly taken over the Indian medical system. And as always, it is likely that the poor will be left behind..............
For want of time to make my own comments and do my own research right now, I am reproducing his letter in full. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue which I hope to revisit sometime in the future.
This is with regard to the constitution of the new Board of Governors for the Medical Council of India. Kindly note the following points -
1. The following are the new members - The new board, headed by Dr K K Talwar (former Director, PGI, Chandigarh), includes Prof K S Sharma from Tata Memorial Hospital, Prof Harbhajan Singh Rassam from Max Hospital, Dr Rajiv Chintaman Yeravdekar from Symbiosis International University and Dr Purushotham Lal, a chairman of Metro Hospital.
2. All of them excluding Dr Talwar are from the corporate sector, leaders in corporate health care (profit oriented health care), without experience in basic medical education or research.
3. Not even one person from the previous BOG has been included. This raises the issue of continuity of working of the new BOG.
4. 4 out of the 5 are superspecialists and 2 of them are cardiologists. I do not understand how this would help a public health and family practice oriented system of medical education is the crying need for the country.
5. Except Dr K K Talwar and Prof K S Sharma, I could not find any research material from any of the other members. I’m sure that you will understand how pathetic it is for our country to have a BOG for the supreme authority of medical education to have 3 of the members without any research paper.
6. The representation is very skewed to the North of the country. In fact 2 people are from Punjab and 2 from Maharashtra. I wonder how the whole of the rest of the country has been ignored.
7. Our country still in the grip of infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis etc; maternal and child health care in most parts of the country is still very poor – I have my serious doubts if these should be the members who should be deciding about the planning of medical education in India.
8. The last point is that one of the members, Dr Purushotham Lal had been accused of conducting unethical medical trials involving gene therapy in the past. I’m not sure of what the outcome of the inquiry was. Kindly see http://pbtindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Lancet-May-5-2001.pdf. Kindly also see http://pbtindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Mail-Today-May-17-2011.pdf for more details of the members, the authenticity I’m not sure.
What we should have done is the following – Representation from the following -
1. Central Government Health Care institutions like the AIIMS, PGI-Chandigarh, SCTIMST-Trivandrum.
2. Medical Colleges – both private and public
3. Healthcare Research Institution
4. Public Health Institutions
5. Health Care NGOs including Faith based NGOs who have contributed immensely to health care in India.
I hope you would be able to raise this up with authorities in government you know. Please also forward it to whoever could facilitate to oppose this move from the Minister of Health.
P.S. I have some reservations about point number 6. Being an idealist, I like to think that we are all Indians and try and leave it at that, forgetting regionalism as far as possible. Of course, I have burned my fingers with this attitude many a time!!