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1-year rural internship must for medical students


AHMEDABAD: In a desperate attempt to provide medical services in rural areas which is plagued by vacant positions in government hospitals, the state government has now made it mandatory for the students admitted in its seven self-financed medical colleges to serve for one year in rural areas. 
The Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS), a society formed by the state government to manage government-run medical colleges, has decided that students admitted in the colleges in Sola, Gandhinagar, Valsad, Gotri, Patan, Himmatnagar and Junagadh will have to give an undertaking that they will do internship for one year in rural areas. The students are required to furnish a surety of Rs 2 lakh which they will be required to furnish if they refuse to do internship in rural areas. 
The seven colleges which are managed by the GMERS are in the category of self-financed. The fee in the colleges managed by GMERS is Rs 3 lakh per annum, while the same in the government-run colleges is around Rs 6,000 per annum. 
The officials in the medical education department said that each college has a capacity to admit 150 students. Usually, students of self-financed colleges, which charge high fees, do not go for internship in rural area. "The government can force students to do internship in rural areas as it gives subsidized education to them. But the SFIs cannot force the students. However, the government wants to enforce the same yardstick even for the students who are admitted in SFI colleges." 
The official said that the government was of the opinion that even if 50% of the students go for internship every year in rural areas, they would be able to provide medical services right at the primary health centre level. Currently, there are nearly 1,200 PHCs, 300-odd community health centres where there are around 35% vacancies." 
Nitin Vora, head of Sola Medical College, said, "The management of GMERS has taken a decision and we are only the implementing agency. We still have not got the copy of the bond, but have intimated each and every student who had secured admission in the colleges run by GMERS about the decision." 
P D Vithlani, medical education director and governing board member of GMERS, said the government is giving subsidized education to the students admitted in the college of GMERS. "We are not charging high fees as those by the SFI colleges and hence the government can bring in such regulations. We have been asked to implement the same by the government and we have just followed the instructions."
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