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Govt mulls roping in 5th-yr med students, retd docs to fight virus

March 27, 2020 07:21 AM


Govt mulls roping in 5th-yr med students, retd docs to fight virus

New Delhi:

In urgent measures to ramp up medical capacity to tackle any sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, the government is considering facilitating fifth-year MBBS students and retired but practising doctors to help in managing patients, if necessary.

The health ministry and the Board of Governors in Supersession of Medical Council of India (BoG-MCI) is looking at senior medical students being given provisional permit to practise and manage Covid-19 cases, sources said.

The suggestions include allowing doctors in vital disciplines like anaesthesiology, pulmonology, cardiology and radiology who are waiting to appear for the final exam with a “Board Eligible” degree so that they assist in medical management. They could get “Board Certified” degree later after passing the exam.

There are around 50,000 such specialist doctors who can play a key role in critical care if the number of hospitalisation cases increases in the coming weeks.

‘Rate of increase relatively stable’
The Centre on Thursday said the rate of increase in positive cases has “relatively stabilised” in last few days, with 43 new cases and four deaths being reported in last 24 hours. Though the number of cases is rising, there is a relatively stable trend in the rate at which cases are increasing, the government said. P 6

17 states have started work on dedicated Covid-19 hosps

The proposal also includes relaxing norms and giving temporary licence to those who have pursued medical education from foreign universities in Russia and China and are waiting to clear MCI’s eligibility test.

Such doctors can be allowed to work in hospitals under senior doctors to tackle the current situation. Health minister Harsh Vardhan is understood to have asked Niti Aayog member V K Paul, who also heads the BoG-MCI, to review the proposal, sources in the ministry said.

The proposal is crucial as it has the potential to address the shortage of doctors, mainly specialists in the country. Such doctors, along with nurses and paramedics, are absolutely essential to tackle any community spread of the disease. Though India’s strategy against Covid-19 is focused on breaking the chain of transmission, there are concerns over a rise in mortality and the need for ramped up infrastructure to tackle the menace.

Around 17 states have started working at dedicated Covid -19 hospitals. Besides, the government has also earmarked beds for isolation and treatment of Covid-19 patients in both public and private hospitals. Currently, there are 119 public laboratories under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) capable of conducting 12,000 Covid-19 tests every day.


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