SP Baghel: Medical education in India going through its golden era, says Union Minister SP Baghel

Medical education in India is going through its golden era, Union Minister of State for Health SP Baghel said Thursday, asserting that doctors trained here are highly valued globally and one will find an Indian doctor in every part of the world. Addressing the 42nd Foundation Day of the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences (NBEMS), he said healthcare workers have played a major role in enhancing the perception of India as a global powerhouse.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, delivering the keynote address at the event, said in the last two years 25 courses have been introduced.

“This growth serves to provide greater opportunities for medical students and India is able to garner the best health services and expert doctors, serving to fulfill the nation’s requirements leading to a healthier society and healthier nation,” he said.

Reiterating that the medical sector plays a paramount role in the country’s development, Mandaviya urged students to commit to contributing and shaping India into a developed nation.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, Baghel said, “It inspires us to strive not just for a healthy India but for a healthier world aligned with the motto of ‘One Earth, One Health’ .”

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Medical education in India is going through its golden era, he said and asserted that Indian doctors are valued so much that one will find an Indian doctor in service in every part of the globe. Baghel termed the Ayushman Bharat Health Account card as one of the greatest developments India has seen since Independence, enabling healthcare services to reach the most remote areas and benefit the marginalized communities. Addressing the gathering, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul praised the growth and development of medical education and institutions, highlighting their transformation in the last eight years.

“This is a transformative time for medical education due to initiatives introduced in the system,” he said, adding medical graduate seats have increased over three times.

Paul also cited the National Medical Commission as a new regulator, the introduction of NEET and the District Regency Program mandating all second-year post-graduate students to serve in district hospitals for three months each.

Schools ill-equipped to provide healthy and inclusive learning environments for all children – UNICEF, WHO

Despite a steady decline in the proportion of schools without basic water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services, deep inequalities persist between and within countries, UNICEF and WHO said today. Schoolchildren in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and fragile contexts are the most affected, and emerging data shows that few schools have disability-accessible WASH services.

“Far too many children go to school without safe drinking water, clean toilets, and soap for handwashing—making learning difficult,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF Director of Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Climate, Environment, Energy, and Disaster Risk Reduction . “The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of providing healthy and inclusive learning environments. To protect children’s education, the road to recovery must include equipping schools with the most basic services to fight infectious diseases today and in the future.”

“Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is not only essential for effective infection prevention and control, but also a prerequisite for children’s health, development and well-being,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health . “Schools should be settings where children thrive and not be subjected to hardship or infections due to lack of, or poorly maintained, basic infrastructure.”

Schools play a critical role in promoting the formation of healthy habits and behavior, yet many still lack basic WASH services in 2021. According to the latest data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP):

  • Globally, 29 per cent of schools still lack basic drinking water services, impacting 546 million schoolchildren; 28 per cent of schools still lack basic sanitation services, impacting 539 million schoolchildren; and 42 per cent of schools still do not have basic hygiene services, impacting 802 million schoolchildren.
  • One-third of children without basic services at their school live in LDCs, and over half live in fragile contexts.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania are the only two regions where coverage of basic sanitation and hygiene services in schools remains below 50 per cent; sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where coverage of basic drinking water services in schools remains below 50 per cent.
  • Achieving universal coverage in schools globally by 2030 requires a 14-fold increase in current rates of progress on basic drinking water, a three-fold increase in rates of progress on basic sanitation, and a five-fold increase in basic hygiene services.
  • In LDCs and fragile contexts, achieving universal coverage of basic sanitation services in schools by 2030 would require over 100-fold and 50-fold increases in respective current rates of progress.

Improving pandemic preparedness and response will require more frequent monitoring of WASH and other elements of infection prevention and control (IPC) in schools, including cleaning, disinfection and solid waste management.

Providing disability-accessible WASH services in schools is key to achieving inclusive learning for all children. Still, only a limited number of countries report on this indicator and national definitions vary, and far fewer provide disability-accessible WASH.

  • Emerging national data shows that disability-accessible WASH coverage is low and varies widely between school levels and urban and rural locations, with schools more likely to have accessible drinking water than accessible sanitation or hygiene.
  • In half the countries with data available, less than a quarter of schools have disability-accessible toilets. For example, in Yemen, 8 in 10 schools have toilets, but only 1 in 50 schools have disability-accessible toilets.
  • In most countries with data, schools were more likely to have adapted infrastructure and materials – such as ramps, assistive technology, learning materials – than disability-accessible toilets. For example, in El Salvador, 2 in 5 schools have adapted infrastructure and materials, but only 1 in 20 have disability-accessible toilets.

Notes to editors:

Read the WHO/UNICEF JMP 2022 Data Update on WASH in schools and download the data here.

Read more about the WHO/UNICEF JMP here.

Download multimedia content here.


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