Demand rises for returning hospitals to non-Covid status

New Delhi, Dec 21 : Delay in restarting of medical education, suspended during the pandemic at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), even after the clear directions from Centre and National Medical Commission (NMC), has prompted doctors of the top medical college under the Delhi government, to take out a "request march" on Tuesday.

The march would start from the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital and end at the Delhi Secretariat where the students would submit their demands to the Delhi Health Secretary.

The students demand the medical colleges be restored to the earlier non-COVID status and resumption of clinical practices of over 3,000 Under Graduate (UG) and Post Graduate (PG) students studying there.

There is an 85 per cent of beds lying vacant in the hospital, even though the Covid positivity rate has fallen below 2 per cent in the national capital.

The Resident Doctors Association (RDA) told IANS that a meeting was held on October, 28 where the doctors were reassured that the government will take active steps to initiate the non-Covid services in a phased manner and will bring back the first year PG students deployed at the Covid frontlines as and when the cases came down in the capital after the third spike in November.

"Now the positivity rate has dipped as low as 1.3 per cent, we want the government to open the medical institution for academic learning as well as skill building.

"The UG and PG students are under much stress owing to near shutdown of academic activity forcing them to view a gloomy future.

"Covid is going to stay here for way longer time and we cannot put on hold the medical education for such a long period," said Keshave Singh, doctor and president of RDA-MAMC

"The internship has been postponed till May, 2021.

The exam schedule of UG students has also been delayed and uncertain at present. No definite guidelines for the compensation of loss of 1 year of medical education have yet been specified.

"Because of the postponement of internship due to delay in education, the interns may not be eligible for the recently held PG entrance examination.

There is a lot of mental stress regarding the uncertain future of both UG and PG students," he added.

"MAMC is a pioneer teaching institute in medical science and shares the responsibility of training more than thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate medical students every year.

"Restricting LNJP to only Covid duty is seriously hindering training and education of these students.

This will also lead to a long-lasting damage to society and public health," Prateek Goel, secretary, RDA-MAMC said.

Since all the clinical activities other than Covid treatment are at halt, the resident doctors said that they are losing valuable time for acquiring and refining their clinical skills.

"This will hamper the knowledge of the doctors who will go on to become senior physicians and surgeons," he added.

Last month, the NMC noted that the hospitals attached to teaching hospitals, converted into dedicated Covid hospitals, must start making provisions for the facilities provided to non-Covid patients coming to out-patient and in-patient departments before opening the medical colleges to facilitate UG training.

Following this, the Union Health Ministry directed the states and Union Territories (UT) to initiate necessary steps for the reopening of medical colleges on or before December 1, as per Covid-19 reopening guidelines.

However, the MAMC did not act upon any of the directions by the Centre or NMC.

Around 2,000 beds of LNJP was converted into a dedicated Covid facility after the national capital saw its first surge of Coronavirus cases in July.



Source: IANS