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Medical colleges producing substandard physicians

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06th-Jan-2017       
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AN alarming situation is obtaining in the country's medical education where lack of adequate number of teachers, class rooms and other infrastructures is adding to the worsening standard of education. A report in a national daily on Thursday pointed out at how the mushrooming of medical colleges took place in the country over the past few years while most of them are producing substandard physicians. There is no denying of the fact that such physicians are regularly endangering the lives of patients in hospitals or outdoor treatments. Media reports galore about wrong treatment and patients' death in hospitals and clinics. The situation is only deteriorating when most such doctors are using hospitals and clinics to capitalize patients' miseries for making illegal fortune. 

It appears that the proliferation of medical colleges in private sector started in the hands of wealthy people having political backing from past two decades. We have a total of 105 medical colleges now that include 36 government-run colleges and 69 in the private sector. What is most striking is that these colleges need at least 25,000 teachers but they have only 9,403 to suggest enough classrooms teaching is not taking place in those colleges to produce good doctors. It looks quite surprising 47 medical colleges were set-up in the country alone from 2009 to 2016 while 49 were established from 1992 to 2008. They are mostly products of political lobbying and most of these medical colleges have no back up support from attached medical hospitals to practically train the students.

The country had originally 9 medical colleges until 1991 but since then professional doctors and wealthy people came forward to set-up medical colleges to slowly turn them as commercial establishments. But study reports said most of them have not suitable libraries, anatomy rooms and such other teaching arrangements. Only few medical colleges such as Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong and at some other places have enough facilities to produce good doctors. 

As it appears private medical colleges realize exorbitant tuition fees and other contributions, which at times run from ten to fifty lakh taka per students. Wealthy families think educating children in medicine is not only lucrative it also adds to family status. But physical engineering is different subjects and poor students and ill-equipped colleges are only destroying the standard medical education. 
 
What is most striking is that the government is easily giving approval to new medical colleges even breaking the new policy that should not have been otherwise done. Medical Colleges have to fulfil certain conditions to qualify for approval but many are running in hired houses with few facilities ignoring such conditions.

The Health Minister's claim that the government is interested to expand medical education in the country is a good policy but we wonder why the Health Ministry is not strictly enforcing the minimum standard on medical colleges. The danger is that more people are falling victims in the hands of poorly educated doctors that must stop.


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