Thursday, January 8, 2009

Each AIIMS doctor costs 17 million Indian Rupee

Of the 2,129 students who passed out in the first 42 batches of the MBBS programme at AIIMS -- from its inception in 1956 to 1997 -- the study team tracked down 1,477 doctors. Of them, 780 or 52.81% were found to be working abroad.

India has a dismal patient-doctor ratio. For every 10,000 Indians, there is only one doctor. In contrast, Australia has 249 doctors for every 10,000 people, Canada has 209, UK has 166 and US has 548.Hence this brain-drain is a big problem for India even if we consider the NRI remittances as creators. At the same time I think we can not stop anyone from moving abroad (ethically and practically).

Better we can think of the following solution:

We should follow the US model of higher education. Increase the cost of higher education and make sure enough Need based Scholarship and no-guarantee loans are available for full tuition funding.
This should solve the educational funding issue and help government or private to create more opportunities for higher education. More doctors will help us to improve the per capita ratio.
The difference of medical profession from other high cost profession (like engineering or MBA) is that you need physical presence of the qualified professionals in the village or remote areas. That is challenging as very few people will love to live in such a place after earning a high cost degree (both in terms of money and effort) especially when living in Indian villages is anything but comfortable and at the same time the government salary is not attractive. One way we can do that is to create a mandatory one year post degree paid training (house staff program) in village areas. That way at least we can have some resources available.
Another possibility is to create military like 10 year bond for servicing in village areas (for those students cost of medical education will be much less). There are still few people who don’t come into this profession for money. These non-profit minded guys can be used in villages. Personally I don’t like this idea but can be useful in poor countries like India if it can be implemented(people can still study with subsidies and then break the bond; in the absence of proper legal structure in India implementation can be challenging).

1 comment:

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