IMA urges the government to withdraw plans to start a Bachelor of Science in Community Health
The Indian Medical Association strongly objects the Government move to start BSc Community Health course under the National Board, to man sub-centers and empowering them to prescribe medicines.
Speaking about this issue, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. A Marthanda Pillai – National President and Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K K Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General and President HCFI in a joint statement said, “Sub centers are the cornerstones of disease prevention activities and implementation of national health programs and not primarily meant to provide curative service except home remedies. The staff pattern in the sub center consists of one male and one female multipurpose health worker (JPHN/JHI/ANMs). The job description of these staffs is family welfare services, immunization, awareness, household visits, data collection regarding disease prevalence, and coordinating other national disease control programs. These staffs currently work under the supervision of a medical officer posted in PHC. For this purpose there is no need for a more qualified workforce. Posting the proposed BSc (Community Heath) graduates in sub centers will be a wrong human resource management”.
At the Sub Centre level, a more suitable workforce would be an ASHA worker with basic primary education and training. So the concept of posting paramedics at sub centers will be a gross waste of human resources and will be counterproductive for the purpose they are meant. The policy proposal on this is not based on ground reality and is conceptually wrong. The deployment of over qualified staff at sub centers will only increase the attrition rate. Entrusting the newly proposed BSc (Community health) graduates to manage very sensitive areas like child health within the health system may even worsen the situation. To leave the health of children and adolescents in the hands of ill-equipped personals is detrimental and may nullify the results of years of hard work that the country has put into reducing child mortality and morbidity
Moreover, if the Government’s intention is to produce health workers to work in sub centers, then why should such courses be conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE)? In fact the NBE conducts postgraduate courses and not even undergraduate courses in modern medicine. Allowing these graduates to be registered under Medical Council will set a wrong practice.
IMA therefore, urges the Government to desist from the move to start BSc (Community Health) course.