India needs an urgent cure for its medical education system, Health News, ET HealthWorld

by Dr. Anant Pandare

The state of medical education
As per the data published by the Medical Council of India, there are 606 recognized medical colleges that offer an MBBS degree in the country. Among these, 46 medical colleges are deemed universities, and 276 are private medical colleges. Every year around 1.5 million students appear for the all-India pre-medical entrance test to pursue undergraduate medical courses in government and private institutes but, only eight lakhs become eligible for admission – while 45,000 students get seats in government medical colleges, 40,000 of them find a seat in private and deemed medical colleges. The remaining have to either explore their options in countries that offer affordable medical education or choose another career. Reportedly, around 20,000 to 25,000 students go abroad to study medicine every year in countries like Russia, Ukraine, China, Philippines, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan where medical education costs between 20-45 lakh rupees which is in contrast to India where it can cost between Rs. 60,000-2.5 lakhs in government colleges and between 40 lakhs to Rs. 1.5 crore in private colleges – a distant dream for most Indians.

A report published in 2019 indicates the dire need for doctors and healthcare workers in India. It states that the doctor-population ratio in India is 1:1456 –unevenly distributed between urban and rural areas – against the required 1:1000 as per the WHO standards.

The reasons behind enormous fees
The reasons behind the high fees in medical colleges are the mandated infrastructure requirements and high costs of facilities due to scarcity. Every medical college approved for MBBS admissions, as per the guidelines, should have 23 notified departments, a teaching hospital within the premises, laboratories, and hostels, to name a few. Further, the colleges with an annual intake of 150 MBBS students must have a functional hospital with 330 beds operational for at least two years. In addition to this, an air-conditioned central library of at least 1,000 square meters and one percent of the minimum books prescribed must be journals. Therefore, it costs more than Rs. 400 crores and takes at least five years to build a state-of-the-art government medical college which will further require a fairly hefty sum of money for the annual maintenance. In the case of private institutes, it can go up to unimaginable amounts.

Scaling up India’s medical education
To ensure India continues to produce trained doctors and healthcare workers it must expand its number of medical colleges at an affordable cost. In the past two years, there have been many lessons from the global pandemic for policymakers, doctors, and researchers. Therefore, this is the time to act. The MCI should double the intake of students in the existing medical colleges without compromising on the quality. It should also relax stringent norms laid down for setting up medical colleges to pave the path for the establishment of more medical institutions for aspiring doctors. In November 2020, the move by the National Medical Commission to remove the minimum land requirement of 20 acres for general areas and 10 acres for metro cities was a welcome step. When it comes to encouraging private investment in medical education, we need to relax certain conditions of hospital infrastructure and focus on the availability of clinical materials for training the students. Further, a cost and income sharing model between private and government hospitals should come into force to bring down the costs of setting up hospitals. There is a need to include practicing Doctors, DNB Graduates as faculties to expand the fleet of teachers. To improve the cash flow of medical colleges, low-cost and long-maturity loans should be given to entrepreneurs to set up medical colleges by creating long-term funding agencies. Special tax exemption for investments in medical college establishments could also bring fresh influx of funds in this sector. Last but not the least, the government should introduce urgent reforms in the medical sector to prevent the migration of Indian students to study medicine abroad, and it should also provide low-interest loans to students who get enrolled in medical colleges.

The government has already realized the importance of improving the quality of education and training for doctors and healthcare workers, and it has taken certain key initiatives in this regard. But still, there is a long way to go. Affordable medical education will, in all likelihood, set the tone for an ecosystem where healthcare would also be affordable as aspiring doctors would like to return what they have received. This sentiment will lead to the creation of an affordable health system where even a common person will be able to study medicine as well as get good medical care. Remember, the health of the nation comes even before the wealth of the nation.

Dr. Anant Pandhare, Medical Director- Dr. Hedgewar Hospital- BAVP

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organization directly or indirectly.)

  • Published On Aug 8, 2022 at 06:03 AM IST

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Jassar Dental Medical Education Health Foundation Wins the Award for Excellence in Medical Education

BusinessWire India

New Delhi [India], November 29: Jassar Dental Medical Education Health Foundation (JDMEHF) was awarded the “Excellence in Medical Education” award in the Higher Education Category by CollegeDunia. JDMEHF is a charitable society that runs DJ Group of Institutions based on Niwari Road, Modinagar, Ghaziabad, UP

Annual awards for recognizing meritorious academic institutions have been instituted by CollegeDunia through their CD Connect program. CollegeDunia is the leading digital platform for students seeking information, student reviews, and admission guidance to empower them to make informed decisions regarding their higher education. CD connect is an annual event that celebrates the visionaries and change-makers in the field of education. This event united influential figures, encompassing educators and industry leaders. It was held at the Taj Palace, New Delhi recently.

Guest of Honour, Ashok Kumar, IPS, DGP of Uttarakhand and Sahil Chalana, Founder CollegeDunia presented the award to Rhitik Jassar, Secretary JDMEHF, and the senior management team of DJ Group of Institutions.

On receiving the award, Rhitik Jassar said, “I am delighted that we have received such recognition from a trusted platform such as CollegeDunia. We have remained focused on offering a quality education in programs structured around healthcare and medicine. This award is an indication that we are on the right path. Our intent is to develop a world-class medical education campus that also functions as a Medicity offering dental, ayurvedic, and medical healthcare.” This is the third award in recent times for JDMEHF in the segment of medical education, with laurels being awarded earlier to its Dental college and its Ayurvedic Medical College.

“This is the first time we have received an award at the group level that recognizes the efforts of all our institutions collectively in advancing the agenda of medical education and promoting healthcare not only in Modinagar but in the larger region of Western UP,” added Dr . Ashish Singla, Professor, Community Dentistry and Head of Admissions at DJ College of Dental Sciences and Research.

“I am delighted to have been part of the delegation accepting this distinguished award on behalf of our hard-working faculty, high-performing students, and committed team of non-teaching staff at DJ Group of Institutions,” added Manoj Kumar, Business Head , Divya Jyoti Ayurvedic Medical College.

JDMEHF currently runs the following institutions under the aegis of the DJ Group:-

1. DJ College of Dental Sciences and Research

2. Divya Jyoti Ayurvedic Medical College

3. DJ College of Pharmacy

4. Divya Jyoti College of Pharmacy

5. DJ College of Paramedical Sciences

6. Divya Jyoti College of Nursing

7. DJ College of Medical Sciences and Research (under approval process)

Its core focus is medical education and providing accessible, affordable and quality healthcare to communities based in the campus’ area. JDMEHF has a significant presence in the affordable healthcare segment through its operation of three units, an independent dental hospital, ayurvedic hospital and a medical hospital.

Jassar Dental Medical Education Health Foundation was started by Mr. Ajit Singh Jassar in 1997. He has been credited with re-inventing Modinagar as an educational city. Commenting on the family legacy, Dr. Smiti Klaire, CEO, JDMEHF shared, “We are the third generation of the Jassar family in the city of Modinagar. Our grandfather had a humble beginning here in the 1940s with a small transportation business. My father built these institutions from nothing, starting with a small tract of land measuring about 1000 square yards and only 50 students to now a campus of 75 acres, 20+ courses and around 2000 students. We are committed to his vision of building this campus as a premier educational medicine.”

(ADVERTORIAL DISCLAIMER: The above press release has been provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of the same)

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in the creation of this content

First Published: Nov 29 2023 | 12:15 AM IST

Experts call for more mental health education, support for Hong Kong students after resumption of in-person learning – YP

When Hong Kong’s students headed back to school in mid-April as the city’s Covid-19 cases began to stabilize, not everyone was celebrating.

The city’s schools have long lacked sufficient mental health education and support for pupils, and this issue was exacerbated by the reduction of in-person learning as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent months, schools have been shocked by a number of student suicide cases, and education experts have called for more support for student mental health.

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Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, director of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Center for Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong, described it as a “worrying” trend that could be related to the disruptions in schooling amid the pandemic.

“During the disruptions, students could not catch up with learning … and lacked social support from peers and teachers,” Yip said, adding that as classes resumed and exams loomed, students started feeling more pressure.

“Exams are always stressful for students, but [after having online classes] its impact could be higher, especially for those from underprivileged families or who are handling complicated personal problems.”

Professor Paul Yip believes the pandemic-related disruptions to schooling have deeply affected students’ mental health. Photo: KY Cheng

Leung Pui-yee, a registered educational psychologist, agreed as she worried that the trend might continue, especially in anticipation of the release in July of the results from the city’s university entrance exam.

“There is a pattern of student suicide, which is usually the case [increases] before school resumption and exam periods,” said Leung. “When school resumes, the stressors come back, and students are often short of coping strategies.”

The psychologist noted that during the pandemic, students dealt with multiple sources of anxiety, such as staying safe from the virus and adjusting to a new routine.

“The on-and-off learning has affected their studies and relationships,” she said, adding that the missing support network and lack of social interaction could cause students to feel helpless and hopeless.

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Esther Ho Yuk-fan, principal of Carmel Alison Lam Foundation Secondary School, stressed mental health education was needed to help students deal with stress.

“We should teach people that the ending of your life is never a solution to the problem,” the educator explained.

While the Education Bureau (EDB) offered some online resources, Ho noted mental health education was ultimately up to individual schools to determine.

Esther Ho, principal of Carmel Alison Lam Foundation Secondary School, says the government should do more to help schools protect their students. Photo: Roy Issa

“Some schools are more aware and active in addressing students’ mental health, while some are still [mainly] focused on academics,” she said. “In the past, mental health education was one-off, usually just a talk.”

“But there are systematic … strategies to address the issue. And since mental health is a personal issue, schools should also provide tailored support and tools for pupils.”

The principal said the government should take a more active role in fostering mental health education and protecting students.

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“The EDB definitely has a role to play… by [providing] resources or encouraging schools to take action,” she said.

Ho, who is also the chairwoman of the Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters, has collaborated with other educational and health institutions to launch Jockey Club Project Well-being. Since the three-year initiative began this February, more than 150 schools have taken part.

The project aims to improve the well-being of students, teachers and parents. Through tools such as mindfulness, it hopes to equip pupils with social and emotional skills.

Angela Lam, a Form One student from St Paul’s Co-educational College, said resuming in-person classes was stressful, and students needed more resources.

“I do feel that I am estranged from my classmates,” the 13-year-old said. “There should be lectures for students … to let us learn about adjusting our mood and attitude.”

Ma Jingmao, a Form Four student at Carmel Pak U Secondary School, agreed with Angela about the challenges of heading back to school.

“With unfinished homework, [being] unprepared for tests and dictations, I found it difficult to catch up … after the class resumption,” the 16-year-old explained.

Psychologist explains how social anxiety affects teens, when to get help

She said some of her teachers and friends had left Hong Kong, making her return even more difficult.

Jingmao suggested that schools focus on helping students emotionally adjust to all the recent changes and challenges rather than rushing back into academics.

“It would be better if no tests and examinations were held in the first week of class resumption [to help us] adapt to the busy school life from the long break.”

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Her school has social workers, but the teenager said most students were too shy to speak about their difficulties.

“I really hope there will be some talk about how to deal with mental health problems, especially after the class resumption,” she said.

If you have suicidal thoughts or know someone who does, for Hong Kong, dial 2896-0000 for The Samaritans or 2382-0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at +1 (800) 273-8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.

Click here to download a printable worksheet with questions and exercises about this story. Answers are on the second page of the document.